• Everything we see could also be otherwise (My sweet little lamb)
    20 September – 11 November 2017

    The Showroom (63 Penfold St, Marylebone, London NW8 8PQ, UK) Curated by: What, How & for Whom/WHW, in collaboration with Kathrin Rhomberg, co-curated by Emily Pethick Preview: Tuesday 19 September, 6.30–8.30pm Exhibition opening hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 12–6pm The Showroom presents the epilogue of a long-term project which took place over several months in Zagreb (November 2016 to May 2017), which contextualised and rethought the Kontakt Art Collection. It was curated by What, How & for Whom/WHW in collaboration with Kathrin Rhomberg. This final exhibition is co-curated by The Showroom Director Emily Pethick. Taking selected works from the Vienna-based Kontakt Art Collection as its point of departure, including seminal pieces by some of the most prominent artists from Central, Eastern and South-East Europe since the 1960s, the exhibition stages an interplay between these and other historical, contemporary and newly produced works that interpret and critically examine the collection. The project unfolded in six episodes in Zagreb, each iteration influencing, contradicting and reinforcing each other. It took place in a number of smaller art spaces, artists' studios, private apartments and other locations related to artistic production and the broader cultural landscape of the city. This final stage of the project at The Showroom continues to reframe and expand the context of the collection. Interlacing geographically and poetically heterogeneous artist practices, the project attempts to punctuate standardized presentations and interpretations of works that have dominated international art circuits over the last few decades, with more disorderly and experimental arrangements. The project title is taken from a work by Croatian artist Mladen Stilinović (1947–2016), to whom the project is dedicated. Stilinović's life-long anti-systemic approach, his quiet but shrewd rebellion against social conventions and the conventions of art, and an artistic practice that trenchantly and humorously engages with complex themes of ideology, work, money, pain and poverty, inspired a generation of artists worldwide. The project is a cooperation with Kontakt Art Collection and is supported by Erste Group Bank AG and ERSTE Foundation.


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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.



Born in Cherven Briag, Bulgaria, 1957.

Nedko Solakov studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Sofia, Bulgaria. He graduated in Mural Painting with Prof. Mito Ganovski in 1981. From 1985-86, Solakov studied at the Nationaal Hoger Instituut voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp, Belgium. He has received several grants, including the Artest Foundation, KulturKontakt, Philip Morris Foundation, IASPIS, CCA Kitakyushu. In 2007, Solakov has received an “Honourable Mention to an artist exhibited in the central international exhibition” at the 52nd Venice Biennial, Venice, Italy.

Lives and works in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Solo Exhibitions (selected):

2017     "Color Stories," Dvir Gallery, Brussels, Belgium

2016     "Stories," Georg Kargl Fine Arts, Vienna, Austria

2015     "Improvements," Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg, Austria

2014      "Mixed Media (in at least four directions and one centre)," Galerie Bob Van Orsouw, Zurich, Switzerland 

2013      "Paintings with No Texts and I Want Back Home (said the big frog)," Galleria Continua, San Gimignano, Italy

2012     “All in Order, with Exceptions”, Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst / S.M.A.K., Ghent, Belgium

2011     “Two Site-Specific Pieces with More Options”, Georg Kargl Box, Vienna, Austria

2010     “High Level Margins with a Catalogue”, Kunstverein Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

2009     “Just Drawings (with and without stories)”, Dvir gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel

2008     “A Turnover for Many and a Bit of Luck for One”, Whitechapel Street Project, Whitechapel, London, UK

2007     “Walls & Floor (without the ceiling)”, (with Dan Perjovschi), Kunstforum, Vienna, Austria

2006     “Confidentiality Guaranteed”, with Sint-Lukasgalerij at Art Brussels, Brussels

2005     “Leftovers”, Kunsthaus Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

2004     “Drawings”, (with Massimo Bartolini), Magazzino d’Arte Moderna, Rome, Italy

2003     “Mirrors”, Galerie Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois, Paris, France

2002     “A High Level Show with a Catalogue”, Center for Contemporary Art, Kitakyushu, Japan

Group Exhibitions (selected):

2017     "Doublethink: Double-vision," Pera Museum, Istanbul, Turkey   

2016     "Low-Budget Utopias," Moderna Galerija, Lijubljana, Slovenia

2015     "EuroScope. The Collection of the European Investment Bank," Cercle Cite, Luxembourg

2014     "Gimme Shelter," Tromsø Kunstforening, Tromsø, Norway

2013     "Relaunch," KW Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin, Germany

2012     documenta 13, Kassel, Germany

2010     “A Pair of Left Shoes”, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, Croatia

2009     “Morality”, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

2008     “Voice and Void”, Galerie im Taxispalais, Innsbruck, Austria

2007     “History Started Playing with my Life”, The Israeli Centre for Digital Art, Holon, Israel

2006     “Peace Tower Project” with Rirkrit Tiravanija and Mark di Suvero, Whitney Biennial, New York City, USA

2005     “Drawing from the Modern, 1975-2005”, Museum of Modern Art, New York City, USA

2004     “Passage d’Europe“, Musee d’Art Moderne de Saint-Etienne Metropole, Saint-Etienne, France

2003     “Utopia Station”, 50th Venice Biennial, Venice, Italy

2002     “Das Museum, die Sammlung, der Direktor und seine Liebschaften“, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt/Main, Germany

This bibliography provides a list of books available in the
ERSTE Foundation Library

Books/Exhibition Catalogues


Watkins, Jonathan, ed. 2011. Nedko Solakov - all in order, with exceptions. Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz. [Exhib. Cat., Ikon Gallery Birmingham (Sep. 21-Nov. 13, 2011); Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst Ghent (Feb. 27-June 3, 2012); Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves Porto (Jul. 20-Oct. 21, 2012); Fondazione Galleria Civica - Centro di Ricerca sulla Contemporaneità di Trento (Oct. 8, 2011-Feb. 5, 2012)]


Uszynska, Katarzyna, ed. 2008. Dan Perjovschi, Nedko Solakov: walls and floor (without the ceiling). Nürnberg: Verlag für Moderne Kunst. [Exhib. Cat., BA-CA-Kunstforum Vienna (Nov. 30, 2007-Feb. 3, 2008)]


Solakov, Nedko, artist. 2006. Nedko Solakov: earlier works. Heidelberg: Kehrer. [Exhib. Cat., Arndt & Partner Zurich (Oct. 6-Nov. 11,2006], Kunsthalle Mannheim (Nov. 25-Jan. 28, 2007)]


Solakov, Nedko, artist. 2003. Nedko Solakov: A 12 1/3 (and even more) year survey. Bozen: Folio. [Exhib. Cat., Casino Luxembourg - Forum d'art contemporain (Dec.13, 2003 - Mar. 07, 2004); Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art Malmö (Apr. 17-Jun. 13, 2004); O.K Centrum für Gegenwartskunst Linz (Dec. 02, 2004-Jan. 30, 2005)]


Boubnova, Iara, ed. 2000. Locally interested. Curated by Iara Boubnova. Sofia: Institute of Contemporary Art. [Exhib. Cat., National Gallery for Foreign Art (Oct. 27-Nov. 27, 1999)]


Solakov, Nedko, ed. 1999. Some stories by NEDKO SOLAKOV, 199... – 1999. Nedko Solakov.


Barsch, Barbara, Fischer, Eva, eds. 1992. Nedko Solakov. Translated by Radka Dimitrova-Purwin. Berlin: Ifa-Galerie. [Exhib. Cat., Ifa-Galerie Berlin (May 14-Jun. 14, 1992)]

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