Nedko Solakov

The work of Nedko Solakov manifests itself in a variety of expressive media and can be understood as an extended form of visual narration and draftsmanship. Solakov has elaborated his specific approach to space and time and their inherent processes of transformation in a multifarious oeuvre that began with the artist’s own socialization in the former People’s Republic of Bulgaria and, to date, extends to cover current debates on global power relations, which are reflected in ironic drawings, paintings, videos and multi-part installations. The artist’s penchant for occasionally absurd perceptions of reality stems not only from his personal history, but also from the ruptures that have occurred at politically relevant moments. Solakov engaged in artistic contemplation of his youthful collaboration with the Bulgarian secret service up to 1983 in the work Top Secret (1989/1990), one of the most poignant artistic works to have been created just after the fall of Communism, a work that caused great controversy upon its initial presentation in 1990. It consists of drawings, texts and collages, as well as objects in a wooden filing box and a video shot on the occasion of the work’s presentation at documenta 12 in 2007.
In 1999, the artist announced Bulgaria’s preparedness to participate at the Venice Biennale in 2001 after nearly 30 years’ absence by distributing postcards and T-shirts with the announcement written in the colors of the Bulgarian flag. There was, in fact, no official Bulgarian pavilion at the 2001 Biennale; however, Solakov’s work
A Life (Black & White) was shown as part of Harald Szeemann’s “Plateau of Humankind.” The constant over-painting of walls with white and black paint sketched out the meta-structures of exhibition making, but also the symbolic overcoming of the former East-West divide. The latter has long since been proven by the artist’s participation in numerous international exhibition projects as well as solo presentations at museums. Solakov’s sometimes minimal, sometimes exuberant interventions in spaces reinforce his quest for pictorial and textual narration in the widest possible, trans-media context. At the core of his artistic practice since the very beginning has been his mastery of draftsmanship, which—in combination with storytelling—is not always bound to the medium of paper, but can be deployed in any given spatial situation.


1957, Cherven Briag / BG


Please follow this link for a selected bibliography available at the ERSTE Foundation Library
(c) Kalin Serapionov, courtesy the artist and Galleria Continua San Gimignano
From "Knights (and other dreams)", 2012, dOCUMENTA (13)
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