ICA-Sofia Gallery
34, Vasil Levski Blvd Sofia, Bulgaria, CO 1504

Nedko Solakov


Jun 29, 2018 Jul 27, 2018
Opening: Friday, June 29, 2018, 6 pm
Photos: Kalin Serapionov

Nedko Solakov created his video installation “Some Bulgarians” (2018) under circumstances that are not typical for him. After a long wait for proposals from Bulgaria to present its contemporary art in Brussels, and in relation to the country holding the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU, the traditional host of such prestigious events – the BOZAR Center for Fine Arts – decided to address Nedko Solakov directly and to commission him to make a special project dedicated to his country.
Traditionally the commissioning of art projects representing one or another country in the BOZAR exhibition halls is left to those countries themselves

The video installation was presented in Brussels to great success for a period of four months from January 31 to May 30. “Some Bulgarians” was shown in the Horta Hall where on February 1 of this year, the Cultural Program of the Bulgarian Presidency was officially inaugurated in the presence of our president and prime minister, as well as other ministers and heads of cultural institutions. In his welcoming address Paul Dujardin, the director of BOZAR, emphasized that Nedko Solakov’s work reflected on Bulgaria in its contemporary relations to Europe.
Famous throughout the art world as a story teller using a variety of artistic means – from painting and drawing to complex multimedia installations – this time Nedko Solakov invited real contemporaries into his story about Bulgaria – Georgi Gospodinov, Iara Boubnova, Ivo Dimchev, Javor Gardev, Ruth Koleva and Theodore Ushev. These are six artists with extraordinary international careers, recognized even at home, to whom Nedko Solakov is openly partial. In his words: “some of them I have known for many years, others I met in person because of this project, but all of them already had a place in my mind and heart because of what they have written, performed, sung, animated, staged and curated not only in Bulgaria but all over the world.”
Nedko Solakov turned to these fellow-citizens specifically in the context of the often repeated, both here and abroad, negative characterization of our country “which is arguably the poorest and most corrupt of all the 28 European member-states”. He asked them to explain in short monologues their relation to Bulgaria.
All of them, sometimes at length, sometimes in brief, ironically, emotionally, and occasionally as if off-the-cuff, are responding for the camera to one seemingly simple question asked by the author: “Why do you live in Bulgaria (or go back there from time to time)?”
Unlike the presentation in Brussels, the Sofia showing, which is purposely opening on the last day of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU, also features six watercolors. These are the part in the “dialogue” played by Nedko Solakov himself. Using one of his preferred artistic formats – metaphorical drawings with stories especially imagined for each participant in his project – the drawings are being shown for the first time. They are not only a form of gratitude for the spontaneity and the openness of “some Bulgarians” but also a very personal “declaration of love” on the part of the internationally successful and prize-winning fellow artist.

(The quotations from Nedko Solakov here are part of the installation “Some Bulgarians”)

Since the early 1990s, Nedko Solakov (b. 1957, Tcherven Briag, Bulgaria; lives in Sofia) has exhibited extensively in Europe and the US. His work was featured in Aperto’93 (Venice Biennial); the 48th, 49th, 50th and 52nd Venice Biennial; the 3rd, 4th and 9th Istanbul Biennial; São Paulo’94; Manifesta 1, Rotterdam; the 2nd and 4th Gwangju Biennial; the 5th Lyon Biennial, Sonsbeek 9, Arnhem, the 4th and 5th Cetinje Biennial, the 1st Lodz Biennial; the 7th Sharjah Biennial, United Arab Emirates; the 3rd Tirana Biennial; the 2nd Seville Biennial; the 2nd Moscow Biennial; documenta 12; 16th Sydney Biennial; Prospect 1, New Orleans Biennial, Singapore Biennial 2011, dOCUMENTA (13), Kathmandu Triennale and 1st Riga International Biennial for Contemporary Art. He had solo shows at Museu do Chiado, Lisbon; Stichting De Appel, Amsterdam; CCA Kitakyushu, Japan; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Centre d’Art Santa Monica, Barcelona; Kunsthaus Zurich; Castello di Rivoli, Rivoli; Sofia City Art Gallery, Galleria Borghese, Rome, Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg and BOZAR, Brussels. In 2003-2005 an extensive mid-career "A 12 1/3 (and even more) Year Survey" was presented at Casino Luxembourg, Rooseum Malmoe and O.K Centrum Linz, and in 2008-2009 the “Emotions” solo project was exhibited at Kunstmuseum Bonn, Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, and Institut Mathildenhoehe, Darmstadt. In 2011-2012 his retrospective “All in Order, with Exceptions” was presented at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham; Fondazione Galleria Civica Trento (“All in (My) Order, with Exceptions”), S.M.A.K., Ghent and Fundação de Serralves, Porto. His works belong to more than fifty international museums and public collections, among them MoMA New York, Tate Modern, London and Center Pompidou, Paris.
Earlier this month, Nedko Solakov participated at Unlimited and Parcours of Art Basel, where he presented his monumental "I Miss Socilaism, Maybe..." installation from 2010, and "Antikendoodles" among the permanent exhibits of Antikenmuseum, Basel.


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