Nedko Solakov

born in 1957 in Cherven Briag, Bulgaria
lives and works in Sofia

Nedko Solakov is considered as an important protagonist of contemporary European art.An alert observer of contemporary life, Solakov’s drawings, paintings, and installations call not only the art system into question, but also collective "truths" and the contradictions of human existence.

Drawing and Thinking (often in form of narration or storytelling) are the two essential, inseparable poles of Solakov’s art. Solakov is skilled not only in drawing, but also in other techniques, such as painting, video, installation and performance. Yet it seems that his drawing abilities form a base for his entire multi-media practice. Solakov is primarily a storyteller. Rather than adhering to classical compositional rules, his works are framed according to story lines. These non-linear narratives are often dispersed, multi-directional, or interwoven in networks. As they unfold, they form a territory that is both visual and discursive, both physical and fictional. The addition of explanatory text and commentary often accompanies each drawing. The boundary between drawing and writing is thus blurred, and the written texts become drawings themselves.

CV
Solakov’s regular participation in important exhibitions including the documenta 12 (2007) & 13 (2012), the Venice Biennial (1993, 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2007), the Moscow Biennial (2007), and the Istanbul Biennial (1992, 1995, 2005) have made him one of the best-known international representatives of the younger generation of Bulgarian artists.
Solokov has held solo exhibitions at Kunstwerke Berlin, Germany (2013), at S.M.A.K., Ghent, Belgium (2012) as well as at the Kunstverein Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2010). Solakov’s solo exhibition "Emotions" was showcased at the Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland, and the Mathildenhoehe, Darmstadt, Germany (both 2009) as well as at the Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany (2008). Further solo presentations were staged at the Sofia City Gallery, Sofia, the Castello di Rivoli, Turin (both 2009), the Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland (2005), the P.S.1, New York (2001), and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (2003). Between 2003 and 2005 a comprehensive mid-career retrospective of his work entitled “A 12 1/3 (and even more) Year Survey” was presented at the Casino Luxembourg, the Rooseum in Malmö, Sweden, and the O.K. Centrum in Linz, Austria.

SELECTED COLLECTIONS
Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig - MUMOK , Vienna, Austria; SMAK Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Gent, Belgium;Sofia Art Gallery, Sofia, Bulgaria; HEART - Herning Museum of Contemporary Art, Herning, Denmark; Musée d'Art Contemporain Lyon, Lyon, France; Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK), Frankfurt/Main, Germany; MARTa Herford, Herford, Germany; Ludwig Museum - Museum of Contemporary Art - Budapest, Budapest, Hungary; Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands; Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain, Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich,Switzerland; Tate Modern, London, UK; MoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NY, USA

EXHIBITIONS:

12.06 - 15.09.2010
NEDKO SOLAKOV
"Optimistic Stories"
Solo presentation at ARNDT Berlin

29.4. - 30.5.2010
“Changing The World”
Group exhibition with works by Erik Bulatov, Sophie Calle, William Cordova, Wim Delvoye, Anton Henning, Thomas Hirschhorn, Ilya und Emilia Kabakov, Jitish Kallat, Jon Kessler, Karsten Konrad, Julije Knifer, Enrique Martinez Celaya, Josephine Meckseper, Vik Muniz, Muntean Rosenblum, Julian Rosefeldt, Charles Sandison, Dennis Scholl, Nedko Solakov, Hiroshi Sugito, Ena Swansea, Mathilde Ter Heijne, Keith Tyson, Ralf Ziervogel
at ARNDT, Berlin

03.02. – 21.04.07
Nedko Solakov
“New Noah's Ark, Stupidity and the Wave”
Solo exhibition at Arndt & Partner, Berlin

06.10. – 11.11.2006
Nedko Solakov
“Earlier Works”
Solo exhibition at Arndt & Partner, Zurich
CATALOGUE AVAILABLE

5.5.- 25.5. 2002
Nedko Solakov
"Studies for Romantic Landscapes with Missing Parts (and tips for the average global citizen)"
Solo Exhibition at Arndt & Partner, Berlin

05.09. - 14.11.1998
Nedko Solakov
"Silly”
Solo exhibition at Arndt & Partner, Berlin

20.04. - 02.06.1996
Nedko Solakov
"Desires"
Solo exhibition at Arndt & Partner, Berlin

FURTHER BOOKS AND CATALOGUES:
Nedko Solakov "Emotions", 2008

Nedko Solakov, The Water Pyramid, 2008, Acrylic and ink on gilt carved lime wood,  17.72 x 27.17 x 3.15 in Nedko Solakov, The Water Pyramid, 2008, Acrylic and ink on gilt carved lime wood, 17.72 x 27.17 x 3.15 in
Nov 2, 2010

NEDKO SOLAKOV is on view at the Kunstverein Amsterdam and also part of the group exhibitions “By Day, By Night,” Rockbund Museum, Shanghai, China, curated by Hou Hanru, and “A Place out of History” at the Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico City.

Duration of the exhibition at Kunstverein Amsterdam: 18. September - 21. November 2010
Duration of the exhibition at Rockbund Museum: 25 October 2010 - 03 January 2011
Duration of the exhibition at Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporaneo: 21 September 2010 - 6 March 2011

Jan 11, 2009

Handwritten text on icon: The Investment (the money pouch)

Nedko Solakov, The Investment (the money pouch), 2008, acrylic and black drawing ink on gilded carved lime wood, 77 x 83 x 9,5 cm /30,31 x 32,68 x 3,74 in, SOLA0766 Nedko Solakov, The Investment (the money pouch), 2008, acrylic and black drawing ink on gilded carved lime wood, 77 x 83 x 9,5 cm /30,31 x 32,68 x 3,74 in, SOLA0766

Once upon a time there were two investors living in a kind of (financial) paradise. One of them occupied a lovely meadow full of gorgeous flowers and friendly plants while the other preferred to live in the underground part of the same meadow, where the no-less-gorgeous-and-friendly roots of the same flowers and plants also provided a wonderful habitat. Needless to say, the two investors had a common business, too – a pretty conservative one, in a way even the most conservative and old-fashioned business one could find in those days: just a big pouch with a lot of cash in it.

The strange thing was that even though they argued constantly about other things, on that one – to keep the cash in the pouch in the old-fashioned way and not to place it into much more profitable financial operations – they had a silent agreement.

Then a crisis came. It was a devastating time and, like most other investors in the world, the two business partners lost a lot. But all the time, while desperately trying to save their assets, they had in the back of their heads that there was this huge money pouch full of cash that would guarantee their lives and the existence of their families.

There was just one thing that they didn’t take into account –the money pouch, their precious investment, the last hope they had, happened to have its own life and plans for the future as well. And there was no place in the pouch’s plans for the two investors. For a long time she had been dreaming of starting her own business without the two humans and, thanks to the crisis, she got it. “But we love you!” the two investors were trying to comprehend the new situation, an almost impossible task.

Exhibitions

NEDKO SOLAKOV "Optimistic Stories"
Opening: 11 June 2010
Duration: 12 June to 15 September 2010

Optimistic Stories, 2008/2009 Optimistic Stories, 2008/2009

Nedko Solakov’s work Optimistic Stories compasses a series of 123 sepia and ink drawings. His so far most comprehensive series of work, since the 99 Fears shown at documenta 12 that made a great stir, were done within several months and reflect on the crisis. The first drawing starts with the words: “This is me at the beginning of the crisis which started 5 art fairs ago. I’m still wondering what shall I do now…”, dated on 16 December 2008.
Each story constitutes an ironic examination of optimism with its pessimistic surrounding. Personal experiences alternate with fictional and fabulous tales on the reflection of good vs. bad. All figures in the series try hard in loosing against the powerful negative influences. For the artist remains at the end only to wish good luck to his beloved people - a concession of helplessness against the evil in the world and the only dawn of hope that “the bad guys/things will ignore us”.
Ever since the '80s, the Bulgarian artist Solakov has adopted a direct and often ironic artistic language, both in his large-scale installations and in his small-format drawings: the artist tells stories and anecdotes that reflect on details of contemporary life, narratives that sum up the contradictions of existence through the representation of situations, reflections, vicissitudes, expectations, successes and failures.
His regular participation in important exhibitions including the documenta
12 (2007), the Venice Biennial (1993, 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2007), the Moscow Biennial (2007), and the
Istanbul Biennial (1992, 1995, 2005) have made him one of the best-known international representatives of Bulgarian artists.

03.02. – 21.04.07
Nedko Solakov
“New Noah's Ark, Stupidity and the Wave”
Solo exhibition at Arndt & Partner, Berlin

Nedko Solakov “New Noah's Ark, Stupidity and the Wave” Solo exhibition at Arndt & Partner, Berlin Nedko Solakov “New Noah's Ark, Stupidity and the Wave” Solo exhibition at Arndt & Partner, Berlin

PRESS RELEASE
Arndt & Partner Berlin is delighted to present the fourth solo show of the Bulgarian artist Nedko Solakov in the Gallery 1st Floor.
The exhibition “New Noah’s Ark, Stupidity and The Wave” will consist of the expansive installation New Noah’s Ark (first shown at the Istanbul Biennale 1992), the Stupidity Series, one of his typical series of multiple drawings, and one of his characteristic icons: The Wave. All exhibited works present Solakov’s unusual narrative approach, taking the visitor into the artist’s own imaginative, ironical, and humorous cosmos.
Especially the central element of the “new Noah’s Ark” does not seem of this world: a stream of obscure creatures meandering on the gallery’s floor. In the installation, they are accompanied bya painting, a small stone with the inscription “ti” [You], twelve drawings of the ark, a strange sound of rushing water, and a book.
The book enlightens us that the creatures are stranded from an alien planet, on their way into another world and supposed to be rescued by an ordinary man (Noah), after having landed in his bathroom through the water pipes.
A humorous, satirical story with a Biblical reference, written at a time when Bulgarian and other communist societies had to redefine themselves after the political changes; a story which in view of Bulgaria’s very recent joining of the EU is once again, or still, very topical.
As can already be seen in the installation New Noah’s Ark, Solakov uses in his work various media, such as painting, photography, video, and drawing. Next to New Noah’s Ark, the exhibition will also contain the 15-part Stupidity Series of 2006: small-format drawings, tiny pen strokes on handmade paper, which at first sight remind one of the Old Masters, but confuse the beholder with short handwritten text passages. The Wave of 2007 takes a similarly jolting approach, showing a curving Baroque frame and a stark square icon – easily bridging the secular and the sacred, also reflected by the text he uses.
Solakov’s themes circle around mundane, seemingly nonsensical and also personal statements, the status of contemporary art, prevalent forms of viewing art, and the value system in general, and do so in a most lyrical way, usually taking a critical stance.

Exhibition catalogue published on occasion of a solo exhibition at Arndt & Partner Zurich and Kunsthalle Mannheim  Published by: Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg 2006  Edited by: Arndt & Partner Berlin / Zurich  Language: English  Hardcover, 100 pages, many colo Exhibition catalogue published on occasion of a solo exhibition at Arndt & Partner Zurich and Kunsthalle Mannheim Published by: Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg 2006 Edited by: Arndt & Partner Berlin / Zurich Language: English Hardcover, 100 pages, many colo

06.10. – 11.11.06
Nedko Solakov
“Earlier Works”
Solo exhibition at Arndt & Partner, Zurich

“Earlier Works” by Nedko Solakov at Arndt & Partner, Zurich “Earlier Works” by Nedko Solakov at Arndt & Partner, Zurich

PRESS RELEASE
The Bulgarian artist Nedko Solakov has gained international recognition through his narrative multi-media installations. With a subversive humour, a sense of the absurd and a playful (self-) irony he is processing personal issues as well as formulating critical questions on the context of art, or social subjects.
In his solo show in Zurich he presents a selection of large format polyptychs from 1988 - 1991, which have rarely exhibited or documented up to now. The exhibition, accompanied by a publication with a text by Iara Boubnova, takes account of the fact that these works represent a decisive watershed in Solakov's artistic development. From 1988, the artist, who up to then had worked primarily with painting and drawing, turned to other techniques, such as assemblages and installations, and introduced written text as a means of expression.
The works, produced directly before and during the fall of the iron curtain, make transparent relationship between historical changes in society and the work of the artist being affected by them. In his polyptychs, frequently run through with texts, he combines old master style paintings with assemblages of found objects, or sketchy caricature drawings. He reveals a subtle satirical humour while tackling his experiences, fears and doubts in a time of political and social upheaval.
Nedko Solakov, born in 1957 in Cherven Briag, Bulgaria, is internationally the most well known artist of the younger generation of Bulgarians. He studied wall painting at the Art Academy of Sofia, where he has since lived and worked. Having participated in numerous exhibitions, e.g. at the Venice Biennials (1993, 1999, 2001, 2003), he has gained attention worldwide. He has held solo shows in museums such as P.S.1, New York (2001); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (2003) and Kunsthaus Zurich (2005). His first retrospective was shown at Casino Luxembourg - Forum d'art Contemporain, Luxembourg, at the Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art, Malmö (both in 2004), and the O.K Centrum für Gegenwartskunst, Linz, Austria (2005).

Nedko Solakov "Earlier Works", 2006, Exhibition catalogue published on occasion of a solo exhibition at Arndt & Partner Zurich and Kunsthalle Mannheim , Published by: Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg 2006  Edited by: Arndt & Partner Berlin / Zurich  Language: English  Hardcover, 100 pages, many colour plates  With a contribution by Iara Boubnova  ISBN-10: 3-939583073  ISBN-13: 978-3939583073  Price 28 € Nedko Solakov "Earlier Works", 2006, Exhibition catalogue published on occasion of a solo exhibition at Arndt & Partner Zurich and Kunsthalle Mannheim , Published by: Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg 2006 Edited by: Arndt & Partner Berlin / Zurich Language: English Hardcover, 100 pages, many colour plates With a contribution by Iara Boubnova ISBN-10: 3-939583073 ISBN-13: 978-3939583073 Price 28 €

5.5.- 25.5. 2002
Nedko Solakov
„Studies for Romantic Landscapes with Missing Parts (and tips for the average global citizen)"
Solo Exhibition at Arndt & Partner, Berlin

„Studies for Romantic Landscapes with Missing Parts (and tips for the average global citizen)" „Studies for Romantic Landscapes with Missing Parts (and tips for the average global citizen)"

Arndt & Partner are pleased to announce "Studies for a Romantic Landscape with Missing Parts (and tips for the average global citizen)" (2000) by the Bulgarian artist Nedko Solakov, which was so far only presented once in an exhibition, entitled Leaving the Island at the Pusan Metropolitan Art Museum in Korea (2000).
Upon first investigation of Solakov's narrative series they appear as their title suggests - studies for a Romantic landscape, executed in oil on canvas board, seemingly related to the European tradition of 19th century landscape painting. Whether it be the dramatic mountainscapes set against the gleaming sunset, the chiaroscuro making visible an intimate circle of people sitting around a fire in the pitch-dark night or the lonely lovers, contemplating the vastness of the seascape, the academic style and choice of subject matter suggest a traditional painter at work.

As one has a closer look, however, a sense of irritation sets in, as the mountain is not reflected in the sea, the fire supposedly warming the circle of people is missing, and the bench on which the two lovers should be sitting is not painted at all. For the 'unaccustomed eye of the average global citizen', Solakov even solves the riddle of the missing part by hinting at it in the title of the work.

As in previous work groups, the "Studies for a Romantic Landscape with Missing Parts" reflect the artist's potent strategy of combining conventional techniques of draughtsmanship and knowledge of art history with the use of playful irony, an emphasis on the absurd and a subversive sense of humour. His narrative installations have a conceptual freedom, successfully triggering a range of questions and issues about the status and relevance not only of contemporary painting and the context in which it is presented, but also of general values and beliefs upheld in Western culture.

Nedko Solakov, born in 1957 in Cherven Briag, Bulgaria, lives and works in Sofia and graduated in mural painting from the Art Academy in Sofia in 1981. Since 1984, he has participated in numerous international exhibitions in Europe and the US. Among his forthcoming projects are exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, at the Casino Luxembourg, the Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt as well as several solo shows at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, the Museo do Chiado in Lisbon and the Museo Nacional de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid.

 

05.09. - 14.11.1998
Nedko Solakov “Silly”
Solo exhibiton at Arndt & Partner, Berlin

Nedko Solakov “Silly” solo exhibiton at Arndt & Partner, Berlin Nedko Solakov “Silly” solo exhibiton at Arndt & Partner, Berlin

20.04. - 02.06.1996
Nedko Solakov (BUL): „Desires“
Solo exhibition at Arndt & Partner, Berlin

PRESS RELEASE
NEDKO SOLAKOV „DESIRES“

Longing, demand, wanting, wish, curiosity: very differently colored and variously intense emotions swing to the title of Nedko Solakov´s exhibition- his first in a private gallery in western Europe.
Since his participation at the 3rd International Istanbul Biennial in 1992, where his installation „New Noah´s Ark“ got great attention, Solakov has turned out to be one of the most important bulgarian artists of the international contemporary art world. He took part in Aperto 93, 4th Istanbul Biennial, Sao Paulo Biennial 94. He will participate in „Manifesta I“ - the first European Biennial, Rotterdam, June 96; „Beyond Belief“, ICA Philadelphia, September 96; „Scream“, Arken Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen, November 96 and „Enclosures“, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, November 96.

From 1994-95 he worked in Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin by a grant of Philip Morris Foundation and set into scene the very convincing story of a young curator (Mr. Curator, please...) who was asked by a group of “very rich and sentimental“ people to select the world´s best altarpiece and is getting pretty oppressed by the ghosts of the deceased masters during his investigation.
In the gallery Arndt & Partner Nedko Solakov is now dedicated to the many-sided topic of human needs and demands. As divers as the subject are the artists materials that he is using: classical drawings with pencil or ink, oil on canvas, three dimensional objects, video, wall-drawings with chalk or text written directly on the wall. „The media respects the content“, comments Solakov his choice of working materials.

All of the works are assembled under the category of „Desire“, but many of them have second titles or subtitles, the classical drawings „Once upon a time...“ are dedicated to „the desire to change the present, future and past“. The “oil on canvas“ photos of some of his installations speak of the „extreme desire of the avantgarde artist his art to look in a classical way“, but on the other hand there is the „extreme desire of the classical artist his art to look in avantgarde way“ as well.
This kind of „split personality“ also reveals itself through the wall drawing called „Sins“:
white ink drawings on black paper are pinned directly on a black painted wall telling about the“ desire to specify what is good and what is bad“. Extreme opposites, light and darkness,innocence and evil, black and white, seriousness but irony and sarcasm as well determine this work, but Solakov is definetely not trying to postulate moral values, but is trying to get over that thin line that is separating the imagination of the artist from the imagination of the public.

He is posing questions:“ What if? Why not? Do I really want to live like that?“ His answers are not definitiv, but are creating new questions. The discussion does not end, is endless, moves through the room in spirals, reflects and meditates, would be horrifying and overwhelming, if there would not be the „minor sins“ as well, like the curiosity to read a dirty joke, that is covered by a red tissue and could be revealed any time.

Opening: 20.04. , 17.00- 19.00
Duration of the exhibition: 20.04. - 02.06.96
A catalogue will be published.