Denitsa Todorova

Lives and works in Antwerpen (BE)

Represented by: DMW Gallery

Working almost exclusively with graphite on paper, Denitsa Todorova creates an abstract world of soft strokes in shades of black and grey. With a unique approach to her medium, she offers the viewer a veil, a passage to myriad possible meanings and dialogues, bound to trigger one’s imagination.
The artist has discovered for herself an inverted technique: first, she completely covers her paper in graphite powder. Then, she carefully starts erasing this black surface, so that a meticulously crafted image appears. ‘The results of my work might seem abstract and filled with coincidences, but for me they are really structured. I have a clear vision in my mind of what the image will look like, and I have to be very careful not to erase too much or too little. It’s a very time-consuming practice.’ There is space for a playful element in the shape of the paper, which is determined in advance, but is not necessarily cut off straight. This gives the final work a strongly individual, structural character.
The spiral has been a prominent character in Denitsa’s work, as it is, for her, a symbol of many things: ‘It’s really a key to what I have to say. It’s a symbol of eternity, it repeats itself endlessly. Still now, most of my works feature a spiral.’ Recently, however, her attention has shifted from a geometric universe to natural environments: ‘My greatest source remains the light.’
Whereas the spiral would reflect a kind of metaphysical light, maybe from another galaxy, the current works are closer to nature: they evoke the way light can touch and dance on water, or the manner in which it playfully drops through leaves in a forest. Light can also be considered a metaphor for Denitsa’s method: she gradually erases small parts of a completely blackened surface, thus letting the light in through cracks in the darkness.


Working almost exclusively with graphite on paper, Denitsa Todorova creates an abstract world of soft strokes in shades of black and grey. With a unique approach to her medium, she offers the viewer a veil, a passage to myriad possible meanings and dialogues, bound to trigger one’s imagination.
The artist has discovered for herself an inverted technique: first, she completely covers her paper in graphite powder. Then, she carefully starts erasing this black surface, so that a meticulously crafted image appears. ‘The results of my work might seem abstract and filled with coincidences, but for me they are really structured. I have a clear vision in my mind of what the image will look like, and I have to be very careful not to erase too much or too little. It’s a very time-consuming practice.’ There is space for a playful element in the shape of the paper, which is determined in advance, but is not necessarily cut off straight. This gives the final work a strongly individual, structural character.
The spiral has been a prominent character in Denitsa’s work, as it is, for her, a symbol of many things: ‘It’s really a key to what I have to say. It’s a symbol of eternity, it repeats itself endlessly. Still now, most of my works feature a spiral.’ Recently, however, her attention has shifted from a geometric universe to natural environments: ‘My greatest source remains the light.’
Whereas the spiral would reflect a kind of metaphysical light, maybe from another galaxy, the current works are closer to nature: they evoke the way light can touch and dance on water, or the manner in which it playfully drops through leaves in a forest. Light can also be considered a metaphor for Denitsa’s method: she gradually erases small parts of a completely blackened surface, thus letting the light in through cracks in the darkness.

Denitsa Todorova (°1984 – Plovdiv, Bulgaria) lives and works in Antwerp. Denitsa’s evocative drawings are created through a unique process in which she covers the entire surface of the thin paper with a layer of graphite in order to take it off again, thereby revealing the composition in different layers. This meticulous technique draws from sgraffito, a practice commonly known in Eastern Europe, where the roots of the artist lay, but also bears similarities to the process of painting, revealing the artist’s training. Denitsa’s work is heavily influenced by perceptions of time and death, metaphysical ideas and interactions between different surroundings. The ambiguous representational character of her work creates a mental space for the viewer whose only reference points are the subliminal notions of time and space, which are manipulated by the artist in order to tell a story. The result is a never-ending dialogue, questioning the illusions of time, evolving with our inner reflection. Recently, Denitsa’s works have taken on a more organic form, in which soft shapes are employed to more directly reflect phenomena of nature and landscapes, rather than an abstract geometric sharpness. The result is a harmonious series of drawings, reflecting on the appeal of silence and nondescript spaces. Light comes to the fore as a main element of inspiration, with many images inspired by reflections of light on water and other surfaces.

Specks of light are coming through the graphite curtain. What you see behind it, is open for interpretation. It could be related to your deepest desires. ‘A lot of different associations can be made with my work. Some people seem to recognize landscapes they know, even cities or maps. A drawing of water can also look like marble. It is very important to me that the viewer finds some kind of attraction, a strong emotion in my works.’
The creations are ambiguous: on the one hand, Denitsa shapes this new reality of extreme beauty, often based on her memory of a place or an image. On the other hand, it doesn’t really exist. She says: ‘I want to take viewers by the hand and lead them into this new reality. I create landscapes, both as a visual reality, and as a space where you could meet with your emotions.’ In other words, they are not so much non-existent, as they are an extension of the internal reflections of the viewer.
There is a lot of freedom in these newly found landscapes. They could be seen as a new dimension, a metaphysical space, as a form of escapism or as a mental space only the viewer can enter. ‘Every work comes to life in this triangle between me, the work itself, and the viewer,’ says the artist. The viewer and the activation of their imagination is the key to meaning in her work. Just as she finds a limitless freedom of expression in creating these landscapes, the viewer is free to experiment with attaching associations and meanings to them.
Generously created solely for the viewer to be absorbed by it, the free spaces transport you to new and different dimensions of beauty. As French poet and philosopher Paul Valéry put it: ‘Freedom is one of those hateful words that are worth more than meaning’ – assigning to it a greater value than any meaning can give it. The full value of freedom cannot really be put into words, it is a meaning in itself. It is one of the many meanings that can be found in Denitsa’s works: the freedom to imagine a space, and to, in that space, be free.  

Tamara Beheydt


Specks of light are coming through the graphite curtain. What you see behind it, is open for interpretation. It could be related to your deepest desires. ‘A lot of different associations can be made with my work. Some people seem to recognize landscapes they know, even cities or maps. A drawing of water can also look like marble. It is very important to me that the viewer finds some kind of attraction, a strong emotion in my works.’
The creations are ambiguous: on the one hand, Denitsa shapes this new reality of extreme beauty, often based on her memory of a place or an image. On the other hand, it doesn’t really exist. She says: ‘I want to take viewers by the hand and lead them into this new reality. I create landscapes, both as a visual reality, and as a space where you could meet with your emotions.’ In other words, they are not so much non-existent, as they are an extension of the internal reflections of the viewer.
There is a lot of freedom in these newly found landscapes. They could be seen as a new dimension, a metaphysical space, as a form of escapism or as a mental space only the viewer can enter. ‘Every work comes to life in this triangle between me, the work itself, and the viewer,’ says the artist. The viewer and the activation of their imagination is the key to meaning in her work. Just as she finds a limitless freedom of expression in creating these landscapes, the viewer is free to experiment with attaching associations and meanings to them.
Generously created solely for the viewer to be absorbed by it, the free spaces transport you to new and different dimensions of beauty. As French poet and philosopher Paul Valéry put it: ‘Freedom is one of those hateful words that are worth more than meaning’ – assigning to it a greater value than any meaning can give it. The full value of freedom cannot really be put into words, it is a meaning in itself. It is one of the many meanings that can be found in Denitsa’s works: the freedom to imagine a space, and to, in that space, be free.  

Tamara Beheydt


 As such, the images give an impression of dual meanings, of splendour and peacefulness, while at the same time capturing an unspecified enigma - a mystery that, like a dream, takes a hold of memories. In this way, the drawings of Denitsa resemble the life-processes behind the images in the films of Andrei Tarkovsky. Like Tarkovsky’s shots, the works of Denitsa are composed as a visual tapestry that, though staged and continually re-shot, manages to capture the spontaneous element of nature’s time, and gives the elements their own natural rhythm. Denitsa has exhibited at numerous art fairs and galleries throughout Europe, including most recently Art Rotterdam (2018) and the STRABAG Art Foundation (2017). Her work has been recognized with various prizes, including the Recognition Award from STRABAG Art Award International (2017) and the Drawing Prize Ronse (2014 and 2015). She has also been nominated for multiple awards and honours, including the FID drawing prize Paris (2017) and the Art Contest 2016

Tamara Beheydt

Exhibitions (solo and group, selection)

Exhibitions (solo and group, selection)

2020 Duo show with Stephan Balleux, DMW Gallery, Antwerp
2020 Art Rotterdam, solo show, Rotterdam, Netherlands

2019 Yesterday You Said Tomorrow, Art on Paper, solo show, Brussels
2019 The House of Art and Beauty, group show, Antwerp
2019 Ballroom Project, group show, Antwerp
2019 TEKENING-DISEGNO, group show, Sint Niklaas

2018 As Far As My Eyes Can See, solo show, Rossi Contemporary, Brussels
2018 Drawing Positions, fair, Munich
2018 KRASJ Kunstbiënnale Ninove, group show, Ninove
2018 1+1+1=3, group show w/ Caroline Van den Eynden and Dries Segers, DMW Gallery, Antwerp
2018 Sensitive structures, solo, CBK Zeeland, Middelburg
2018 Looking back while going forward, group, DMW Gallery, Antwerp
2018 Art Rotterdam, group, The White House Gallery, Lovenjoel
2018 Like a Star above u, STRABAG Art Foundation, Vienna, Austria

2017 STRABAG Art Award, group show with five laureates, Vienna, Austria
2017 Voice in the wilderness, The White House Gallery, Lovenjoel

2016 Future now, Extra City, Antwerp
2016 Art Contest 2016, ADAM Museum, Brussels
2016 Group show with Luc Coeckelberghs, Lore Vanelslande & Robin Vermeersch, Gallery EL, Welle
2016 Open Studios 2016, Antwerp
2016 Occasionele ontmoetingen, group, Diest
2016 Stone and a glass/Tongues of Fire, Denitsa Todorova invites Ada Van Hoorebeke, DMW Gallery, Antwerp
2016 GOGOGOGO, DMW Gallery, Antwerp
2016 Billboard Project 2016, 4th edition: Antwerpen, Antwerp
2016 A reality twist, The White House Gallery, Lovenjoel
2016 EX SITE #1, Oudenaarde

2015 Ronse Drawing Prize 2015, Ronse
2015 LINE UP, Gent
2015 OFF PAPER, Borg art biennale, Antwerp
2015 DART, Mechelen
2015 OPEN M, Attitude to Form, Museum M, Leuven
2015 Harelbeke Drawing Prize, Harelbeke
2015 Belgian Politician, Marion De Cannière Gallery, Antwerp

2014 Ronse Drawing Prize 2014, Ronse
2014 PARK, Borg art biennale, Antwerp
2014 Open Studios 2014, Antwerp
2014 Magma crowded, Antwerp

2013 -2009 Time to Pretend, Leuven
Joy, solo show, Secret Kitchen Gallery, Temse
Lomea 2011, City Gallery, Ruse, Bulgaria
Tattoo your name across my heart, group show, Museumnacht, Antwerp
Temporary Limits, PARK, Ekeren
Wish I never met you, solo show, 4VIEW, Antwerp
MIX media, RA, Antwerp
CANVAS Collectie 2010, BOZAR, Brussels
MASTER-MAQUETTE, Verbeke Foundation, Kemzeke
Master programme expo, Koninklijke Academie van Schone Kunsten, Antwerp
Kotroute 2009, AmuseeVous, Antwerp
Green Cat Gallery, Dalheim, Luxemburg
Festival for Contemporary Art, Sofia Underground, Sofia, Bulgaria

2020 Duo show with Stephan Balleux, DMW Gallery, Antwerp
2020 Art Rotterdam, solo show, Rotterdam, Netherlands

2019 Yesterday You Said Tomorrow, Art on Paper, solo show, Brussels
2019 The House of Art and Beauty, group show, Antwerp
2019 Ballroom Project, group show, Antwerp
2019 TEKENING-DISEGNO, group show, Sint Niklaas

2018 As Far As My Eyes Can See, solo show, Rossi Contemporary, Brussels
2018 Drawing Positions, fair, Munich
2018 KRASJ Kunstbiënnale Ninove, group show, Ninove
2018 1+1+1=3, group show w/ Caroline Van den Eynden and Dries Segers, DMW Gallery, Antwerp
2018 Sensitive structures, solo, CBK Zeeland, Middelburg
2018 Looking back while going forward, group, DMW Gallery, Antwerp
2018 Art Rotterdam, group, The White House Gallery, Lovenjoel
2018 Like a Star above u, STRABAG Art Foundation, Vienna, Austria

2017 STRABAG Art Award, group show with five laureates, Vienna, Austria
2017 Voice in the wilderness, The White House Gallery, Lovenjoel

2016 Future now, Extra City, Antwerp
2016 Art Contest 2016, ADAM Museum, Brussels
2016 Group show with Luc Coeckelberghs, Lore Vanelslande & Robin Vermeersch, Gallery EL, Welle
2016 Open Studios 2016, Antwerp
2016 Occasionele ontmoetingen, group, Diest
2016 Stone and a glass/Tongues of Fire, Denitsa Todorova invites Ada Van Hoorebeke, DMW Gallery, Antwerp
2016 GOGOGOGO, DMW Gallery, Antwerp
2016 Billboard Project 2016, 4th edition: Antwerpen, Antwerp
2016 A reality twist, The White House Gallery, Lovenjoel
2016 EX SITE #1, Oudenaarde

2015 Ronse Drawing Prize 2015, Ronse
2015 LINE UP, Gent
2015 OFF PAPER, Borg art biennale, Antwerp
2015 DART, Mechelen
2015 OPEN M, Attitude to Form, Museum M, Leuven
2015 Harelbeke Drawing Prize, Harelbeke
2015 Belgian Politician, Marion De Cannière Gallery, Antwerp

2014 Ronse Drawing Prize 2014, Ronse
2014 PARK, Borg art biennale, Antwerp
2014 Open Studios 2014, Antwerp
2014 Magma crowded, Antwerp

2013 -2009 Time to Pretend, Leuven
Joy, solo show, Secret Kitchen Gallery, Temse
Lomea 2011, City Gallery, Ruse, Bulgaria
Tattoo your name across my heart, group show, Museumnacht, Antwerp
Temporary Limits, PARK, Ekeren
Wish I never met you, solo show, 4VIEW, Antwerp
MIX media, RA, Antwerp
CANVAS Collectie 2010, BOZAR, Brussels
MASTER-MAQUETTE, Verbeke Foundation, Kemzeke
Master programme expo, Koninklijke Academie van Schone Kunsten, Antwerp
Kotroute 2009, AmuseeVous, Antwerp
Green Cat Gallery, Dalheim, Luxemburg
Festival for Contemporary Art, Sofia Underground, Sofia, Bulgaria

Awards & nominations

Awards & nominations

2017 Recognition Award, STRABAG ArtAward International, Vienna, Austria;
2017 FID Drawing Prize, Top 23 finalist, Paris, France
2016 Art Contest 2016, Top 10 finalist, ADAM Museum, Brussels
2015 Drawing Prize Ronse 2015, First Laureate, Ronse
2014 Drawing Prize Ronse 2014, Second Laureate, Ronse
2010 Prize Piet Van Engelen, Stad Antwerpen, Antwerp
2010 Artistieke Stichting Mathilde Horlait-Dapsens (nominated)
2010 KBC Prijs (nominated)
2010 CANVAS Collectie, BOZAR, Brussels (category ‘Young talent’)
2007 2nd laureate Indig*o! painting competition, Meise

2017 Recognition Award, STRABAG ArtAward International, Vienna, Austria;
2017 FID Drawing Prize, Top 23 finalist, Paris, France
2016 Art Contest 2016, Top 10 finalist, ADAM Museum, Brussels
2015 Drawing Prize Ronse 2015, First Laureate, Ronse
2014 Drawing Prize Ronse 2014, Second Laureate, Ronse
2010 Prize Piet Van Engelen, Stad Antwerpen, Antwerp
2010 Artistieke Stichting Mathilde Horlait-Dapsens (nominated)
2010 KBC Prijs (nominated)
2010 CANVAS Collectie, BOZAR, Brussels (category ‘Young talent’)
2007 2nd laureate Indig*o! painting competition, Meise

Media & publications

Media & publications

2019 Various articles on solo show 'Yesterday you said tomorrow', DMW Gallery, Art on paper, Bozar, Brussels: BeauxARTS Magazine, Collect Magazine, La Libre Magazine, HART Magazine, BoomBartStic Art Magazine Brussels 
2018 Mu in the City, Brussels, online article on solo show ‘As far as my eyes can see’, Rossi Contemporary, Brussels
2018 Ronse Stad Magazine, cover + interview on occasion of 50 years Ronse Drawing Prize
2018 Artmagazine CC Vienna, article on solo show ‘Like a star above you’, Strabag Kunstforum
2018 ‘Sensitive structures’, CBKZeeland, wall drawing, exhibition catalogue 
2018 ‘As far as my eyes can see’, Rossi Contemporary, Brussels, exhibition catalogue 
2017 Strabag Kunstforum, Strabag art award exhibition catalogue,Vienna, Austria 
2017 HART Magazine, online article on Strabag art award
2017 HART Magazine, article on show ‘Voice in the wilderness’, The White House Gallery, Leuven, Belgium 
2017 ‘Voice in the wilderness’, exhibition catalogue
2016  ART Contest 12th edition (prize for contemporary art) exhibition catalogue
2016 HART Magazine, article on show ‘A Reality Twist’, The White House Gallery,Leuven, Belgium 
2015 ‘OPEN M, Attitude to Form’, exhibition catalogue, Museum M, Leuven
2014  Gazet van Antwerpen, article on occasion of Open Studios 2014
2013 ‘Time to Pretend’, exhibition catalogue, Leuven
2011 ‘Tattoo your name across my heart’, art book (limited edition of 100)

2019 Various articles on solo show 'Yesterday you said tomorrow', DMW Gallery, Art on paper, Bozar, Brussels: BeauxARTS Magazine, Collect Magazine, La Libre Magazine, HART Magazine, BoomBartStic Art Magazine Brussels 
2018 Mu in the City, Brussels, online article on solo show ‘As far as my eyes can see’, Rossi Contemporary, Brussels
2018 Ronse Stad Magazine, cover + interview on occasion of 50 years Ronse Drawing Prize
2018 Artmagazine CC Vienna, article on solo show ‘Like a star above you’, Strabag Kunstforum
2018 ‘Sensitive structures’, CBKZeeland, wall drawing, exhibition catalogue 
2018 ‘As far as my eyes can see’, Rossi Contemporary, Brussels, exhibition catalogue 
2017 Strabag Kunstforum, Strabag art award exhibition catalogue,Vienna, Austria 
2017 HART Magazine, online article on Strabag art award
2017 HART Magazine, article on show ‘Voice in the wilderness’, The White House Gallery, Leuven, Belgium 
2017 ‘Voice in the wilderness’, exhibition catalogue
2016  ART Contest 12th edition (prize for contemporary art) exhibition catalogue
2016 HART Magazine, article on show ‘A Reality Twist’, The White House Gallery,Leuven, Belgium 
2015 ‘OPEN M, Attitude to Form’, exhibition catalogue, Museum M, Leuven
2014  Gazet van Antwerpen, article on occasion of Open Studios 2014
2013 ‘Time to Pretend’, exhibition catalogue, Leuven
2011 ‘Tattoo your name across my heart’, art book (limited edition of 100)

Training

Training

2008-2010  Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp: Master in Painting
2005-2008  Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp: Bachelor in Painting
2005  Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp: Theatre costume
2002-2005  New Bulgarian University Sofia, Bulgaria: Bachelor of Stage Design

2008-2010  Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp: Master in Painting
2005-2008  Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp: Bachelor in Painting
2005  Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp: Theatre costume
2002-2005  New Bulgarian University Sofia, Bulgaria: Bachelor of Stage Design

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