This is Nedko Solakov’s first large exhibition in Bulgaria since 1988, as well as the first retrospective presentation of his work in his home country. One of the most interesting „story tellers” of contemporary art will „recount” his artistic biography specially for the Bulgarian public.
The SCAG exhibition is an attempt to give an idea of the artist’s dynamic and versatile work between 1981 and the present day. The oil paintings featured in the exhibition belong to various Bulgarian museums (the National Art Gallery, the art galleries of the cities of Plovdiv, Botevgrad, Sliven, Gabrovo, Dimitrovgrad, the House of Humour and Satire in the city of Gabrovo), as well as to private collections. They reveal the artistic style and approaches that brought Nedko Solakov critical acclaim and public recognition on the Bulgarian art scene in the early 1980’s through the mid-1980’s. The exhibition also features later works by the artist, where he starts incorporating various non-traditional elements in his work thus declaring his interest in a socially-oriented, provocative and interactive art. The public will be able to see objects created at an early stage of the artist’s career, pertaining to the development of conceptual art in Bulgaria in the late 1980’s.
The 1990’s see a significant, yet logical, change in Nedko Solakov’s art, which was triggered by frequent travels round the world, participation in numerous group exhibitions and biennials, delivery of lectures, participation in conferences and workshops. Gradually he became one of the leading figures in contemporary art. Many of his works belong to major museums and private collections showed to the public. Presentation of the work belonging to this stage of his career turned into a challenge for both the artist and the exhibition’s curators. Led by the desire to create as broad a picture of Nedko Solakov’s art as possible, the artist and the curators choose a specific mode of presentation, where original works are alternated with documentary material. The public will be able to get acquainted with the various ways of installing some of the artist’s most prominent works, to study in detail the artist’s notes accompanying them, to have a look at projects, invitations, etc. And what is most valuable about the exhibition – they will be able to read Nedko Solakov’s comments made exclusively for this very exhibition of his work. Among the works featured in the exhibition are: New Noah's Ark, 1991-2007, The Truth (The Earth is Plane, the World is Flat), 1992-2003, The Collector of Art, 1992-, This is me too..., 1996-2005, Discussion (Property), 2007, A Recent Story with Ghosts, a Pair of High-Heeled Shoes, (a couple of floods) and Some Other Mischievous Acts, 2008, etc. Presented in such a manner, the works turn into a single monumental work of art with a life of its own – a portrait of the artist and his development over the past three decades.
This “picture” of the artist’s art and life is framed by his work „A Life (Black & White)”, 1998-, presumably his most popular one, shown at numerous venues around the world and owned by various prestigious museums and collectors. In the space of a month two workers/painters will constantly repaint the walls of the exhibition space in black and white, day after day, following each other, thus leaving the exhibition space neither entirely white, nor entirely black, which is an excellent metaphor of the world we live in.
Of all Bulgarian museums, the Sofia City Art Gallery is the one paying the greatest tribute to modern Bulgarian art, as revealed by its consistent policy setting the latter as a priority. Nedko Solakov’s exhibition is a logical result of the said policy crowning the efforts of the gallery team to present the best of late 20th and early 21st century Bulgarian art.
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Nedko Solakov (born in 1957 in the town of Cherven Briag, currently living in Sofia) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts – Sofia in 1981 and went on to work mainly in the filed of painting. He has been part of the world art scene ever since the early 1990’s contributing his trademark drawings, installations, videos, objects and interventions in specific spaces.
Nedko Solakov has participated in La Biennale di Venezia, Venice (1993, 1995, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2007), the Istanbul Biennial (1992, 1995, 2005), the São Paulo Biennial (1994), Manifesta 1 (Rotterdam, 1996), the Kwanju Biennial, South Korea (1997, 2002), the Lyon Biennial (2000), the Seville Biennial, Spain (2006), the Moscow Biennial (2007), Documenta 12, Kassel (2007), the Sydney Biennial (2008), the New Orleans Biennial (2008), etc. Over the last years he has had solo exhibitions hosted by: the Chiado Museum, Lisbon, the Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid, De Appel Foundation, Amsterdam, Kunsthaus, Zurich, Castello di Rivoli, Turin, etc. Over the period 2003-2005 three cultural institutions, namely the Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art, Malmö, Sweden, the Casino Luxembourg - Forum d’art Contemporain, Luxembourg and O.K. Centrum für Gegenwartskunst, Linz, Austria hosted a large retrospective exhibition entitled "Nedko Solakov. A 12 1/3 (and even more) Year Survey". In 2008-2009 the „Еmotions” project was presented in Kunstmuseum, Bonn, Kunstmuseum, St. Gallen and Mathildenhoehe, Darmstadt.
Nedko Solakov’s works are to be found in major museums throughout the world, namely: the Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, Germany; Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna; Kunsthaus Zurich, Zurich; the Ludwig Museum, Budapest; Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana; the Tate Modern, London, S.M.A.K. Ghent, as well as in art foundations and private collections shown to the public: Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna; the Dakis Joannou Collection, Athens; the Ella Fontanals Cisneros Collection, Miami, USA, etc.
In 2007 the artist received an “Honourable Mention to an artist exhibited in the central international exhibition”, 52 La Biennale di Venezia, Venice for his work „Discussion (Property)”.
Nedko Solakov is a co-founding member of the Institute of Contemporary Art-Sofia.