The Impenetrable Forest

A winding path leads into ‘The Impenetrable Forest’, where visitors discovered the traditions of the Wichis and pondered on the timelessness of their crafts.

For a long time, El Impenetrable, located in the north of Argentina and bathed by the waters of Pilcomayo River, has been the home of the Wichis, one of the oldest ethnic groups of the region. The Wichi people are experts in weaving a type of geometric shapes, which despite being reminiscent of Anni Albers’ textile designs for the Bauhaus, is, in fact, a part of a very ancient sacred tradition of this native community.

Design collective TRImarchi, with its base in the Argentinian city of Mar del Plata, invited visitors to travel to the heart of this impenetrable forest to learn about the Wichi culture, to contemplate their crafts and to let their beauty guide you through a unique experience. The installation evoked the textures, sounds and scents of the forest in this rich region of Argentina. Exquisite pieces created with the Wichis’ chaguar and yica techniques emulated the impenetrable flora of the land as visitors followed a bending path through the room. Most of the space was screened off by a textile barrier intended to show there are places in nature that she prefers to keep for herself.“We want visitors to find shelter in our textile forest” said TRImarchi. “It is a journey through space and time, to days when magic was the legal tender and to places where electric power didn’t pierce through us.”

‘The Impenetrable Forest’ was not an examination of ancestral design from a folkloric perspective, the designers stressed, but a celebration of an ongoing story of self-sustainability. “We are not spying on a culture from a display cabinet, but understanding this as an opportunity to be amazed by our own origins, to honour a universal legacy that is prior to the concept of nation.”

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Photography: Ed Reeve


Design Team:

TRImarchi Collective


Textile designer: Sol Marinucci. Architects from Fluo Studio: Javier Serena, Ariel Jinchuck. Wichi Artisans: Isabel Fernandez, Maricela Garcia, Anabel Martinez, Maricela Martinez, Sonia Fernandez, Verona Fernandez, Ayelen Fernandez, Angelina Fernandez, Evelin Fernandez, Lidia Paz, Juana Fernandez, Guillermina Fernandez, Orfilia Ibañez, Dominga Fernandez, Rosa Barraza, Carla Martinez, Mirta Tomas, Adolfina Tomas, Johana Perez, Nery Martinez. Video: Leonardo Mercado



Supporting Bodies:

Ministry of Foreign affairs and worship, The Embassy of Argentina to the UK, Secretary of Cultural Heritage - Ministry of Culture, British Council Argentina, TMDG

2018 Exhibitors