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Isida (2021)

Maria Nalbantova
Herbarium Collection - Collection - Isida - Maria Nalbantova
Herbarium Collection - Collection - Isida - Maria Nalbantova

The work "Isida" is a herbarium landscape with a view from the recent past. The elements of the landscape are four white faience tiles with defects, produced in 1981 in the “Isis” factory, as well as fibers from a wooden universal brush. The landscape is a frozen fragment of the now defunct ceramic factory, whose history impresses with its long life, productivity and popularity. It began its existence in 1894 near the Novi-Han station (now Elin Pelin Station), with the production of pipes for the construction of the Sofia wastewater system, and later made granite pavers that covered the city streets and squares. Delivers from Budapest the yellow pavers on which we walk today. Produces 5 million bricks for the construction of the church-monument "St. Alexander Nevsky". Production of ceramics, floor, wall, decorative tiles and majolica began, which became part of the facade and interior of the Central Mineral Bath in Sofia, as well as other iconic buildings, such as Sofia University, the Synagogue, the Russian Church and others. Isis also produces the popular white tiles, which became part of the interior of most homes in Bulgaria in the second half of the 20th century. I found such tiles in the family basement a year ago. Through them, I began to discover various stories related to access to goods and the division of quality during the totalitarian regime. All tiles in the basement are defective. In their cracks I find many questions of the present.
"Isis" survived the "great depression" and nationalization in 1947. It survived the Balkan and World Wars, as well as during the totalitarian regime, but failed to survive the transition and went bankrupt in the 1990s.
Shortly after my journey through the history of white tile began, in the summer of 2020, I realized that one of the buildings of the first Bulgarian ceramic factory had been demolished with a controlled explosion. The tiles became a herbarium, the description of which emerges on the horizon.
40х40х10 cm, four white defective ”Isis” tiles, manufactured in 1981, wood brush bristles