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NedkoSolakov(b.

1957inChervenBriag,Bulgaria,
livesandworksinSofia)isconsideredasanimportant
protagonistofcontemporaryEuropeanart.Analert
observerofcontemporarylife,Solakovsdrawings,
paintings,andinstallationscallnotonlytheartsystem
intoquestion,butalsocollective"truths"andthe
contradictionsofhumanexistence.Drawingand
Thinking(ofteninformofnarrationorstorytelling)are
thetwoessential,inseparablepolesofSolakovsart.
Solakovisskillednotonlyindrawing,butalsoinother
techniques,suchaspainting,video,installationand
performance.Yetitseemsthathisdrawingabilities
formabaseforhisentiremultimediapractice.
Solakovisprimarilyastoryteller.

Solakovsregularparticipationinimportantexhibitionsincludingthedocumenta12(2007)&13
(2012),theVeniceBiennial(1993,1999,2001,2003and2007),theMoscowBiennial(2007),
andtheIstanbulBiennial(1992,1995,2005)havemadehimoneofthebestknown
internationalrepresentativesoftheyoungergenerationofBulgarianartists.
SolakovhasheldsoloexhibitionsatKunstwerkeBerlin,Germany(2013),atS.M.A.K.,Ghent,
Belgium(2012)aswellasattheKunstvereinAmsterdam,TheNetherlands(2010).Solakovs
soloexhibition"Emotions"wasshowcasedattheKunstmuseumSt.Gallen,Switzerland,andthe
Mathildenhoehe,Darmstadt,Germany(both2009)aswellasattheKunstmuseumBonn,
Germany(2008).FurthersolopresentationswerestagedattheSofiaCityGallery,Sofia,the
CastellodiRivoli,Turin(both2009),theKunsthausZrich,Switzerland(2005),theP.S.1,New
York(2001),andtheMuseoNacionalCentrodeArteReinaSofia,Madrid(2003).Between2003
and2005acomprehensivemidcareerretrospectiveofhisworkentitledA121/3(andeven
more)YearSurveywaspresentedattheCasinoLuxembourg,theRooseuminMalm,
Sweden,andtheO.K.CentruminLinz,Austria.
Mostrecentexhibitions:
ImprovementsSalzburgerKunstverein,Salzburg(2015),Nedko
Solakov,GroupExhibition#2,GallerieMassimoMinini,Brescia,Italy(2014),NedkoSolakov,
MixedMedia(inatleastfourdirectionsandonecenter),GalerieBobVanOrsouw,Zurich
(2014),"PaintingswithNoTextsandIWantBackHome(saidthebigfrog),"GalleriaContinua,
SanGimignano,Italy(2013).

http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/08/07/betweenthelinesnedkosolakov/?_r=0

TMagazine:
DoyouidentifyasaparticularlyBulgarianartist?Apartfromyoursignature,which
isalwaysinCyrillic,youneverseemtowriteinBulgarian,onlyinEnglish.
NedkoSolakov:
Ijustseemyselfasanartist.SometimesinmyworkIusethefactthatIcome
fromBulgaria,butItrytodosoinauniversalway.Iwantpeopletobeabletoapproachthe
work.MydrawingsdosaySolak,whichisthefirstpartofmyfamilynameintheCyrillic

alphabetagain,IknowthattheCyrillicalphabetmightbekindofanexoticadditiontothe
drawing,butIdontparticularlyliketoplaywiththat.WritinginEnglishisjustaquestionof
gettingclosertotheviewer,ofbettercommunicatingwithpeople.Whetheryouwanttoacceptit
ornot,Englishisthelinguafranca.

http://artdependence.com/issue/november2014/article/iamtellingstoriesinspaceinterviewwit
hnedkosolakov

AD: Thefirstquestionisanobviousone,ofcourse,itisconcerning yourwebsite:theofficialand


nonofficial part. Is it criticism of your government initswholeorhowtheBulgarian government
dealswithartpolicies?
Nedko Solakov: Yes, it is a sarcastic comment towards all Bulgarian institutions, which are
supposed to supportcontemporaryart,inparticularwhatIam doing.DuringalltheseyearsIgot
zero support. That official "entrance" to my website serves also as a first, basic lineofdefence
against superficial journalists whowantaninterviewquiteafewduringtheyears whenwemet
have said "Youknow,thereissomethingwrongwithyourwebsite,it'sunderconstruction".Then
Ishowthemthedoor.
AD: In the 80s before the decline of the communist Bulgarian regime you were already a
respected artist. An importantmomentatthattime wasthecriticalexhibitionTheCity?inSofia.
Howdoyoureflectonthattime?
Nedko Solakov
: Bulgaria has a unique development we had no underground art before the
changes. Back in 1986, an art critic (Philip Zidarov) approached usfive young, relatively
successful and respected young painterswith the request to do a show under one condition:
to have no paintings in the show. It was extremely stimulating for us and during the course of
the next couple of years we were preparing the show, very excited. We ended up with
installations, of course. The show was called
The City? and it took part inthesummerof1988.
We did several projects together in the following years. What we did is considered to be the
"avantgarde" for Bulgaria, but not done by underground, nonofficial artists, but by relatively
successful young painters. The other four artists now are respected professors in the Art
AcademyinSofia,onlyIhavenotitle.IamjustNedkoSolakov.

AD:
Howwouldyoudefinethemainthemesofyourartwork?
Nedko Solakov: Strangely enough, I haveto think aboutthis,Idon'thavean immediateanswer.
Which means that I don't really defineat least for my internal usemain themes. I am just
telling stories with visual means and from my long experience I can tell that the more personal
they are the more interesting they are for people. I respect the audience, even with my most
arroganttowardstheaudienceworks,Istilldothisoutofrespecttotheviewer.
AD:
Isyourworkmorehumorousormoremelancholy?
Nedko Solakov: It seems, both. Thestoriesmaylookfunnybutunderneathalmostallofthemis
akindofsadness,ormelancholy,toputitmoremildly.
AD: In one of the interviews you said thatyougotreallypassionateaboutart onlyafterthethird
yearintheAcademyofFineArtsinSofia.Whatwastheturningpointforyou?
Nedko Solakov: I graduated from mathematic gymnasium in my home city of Gabrovo (with
golden medal) and then applied to theArtAcademyinSofia,formuralpainting. So, thefirst two
years were constant labour to "reach" the level of my colleagues who had graduated from
special art schools before the academy. Actually, from today's point of view,whattheyshowed

(to me) at that time wasjustaroutine.AndaroundmythirdyearintheacademyIstartedtofeel


myselfinmorefriendlywaters.

http://www.timeout.com/london/art/nedkosolakovinterview

TheideainvolvesmostofSolakovstrademarkconcernscontradiction,monetaryvalue,
individualidentity.Butmaybepeoplewontthinkitsnicetobeinvadedbyaneocolonialist
Bulgarian?Isuggestthatheisaneoconceptualisttoo.Iwascalledthatintheearly1990s,but
conceptualismneverexistedinBulgariasohowcouldIbeaneoconceptualist?
Solakovsfamous19992001work,ALife(BlackandWhite)featuredamanpaintingtextonto
awhitewallbeingfollowedbyanothermancoveringthetextwithblackpaint.TheWestern
pressmademanyexplanationsforthisworkallverystupid.ButinBulgariaeventaxidrivers
gotit.Hepauses.Buttheydontthinkitsart.

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