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Nedko Solakov’s broadly spanned, sprawling and formally almost uncontainable work is thematically one great assault on any demand for the perfect, the definitive and the unequivocal. Beginning with his education in wall painting at the Art Academy in Sophia, the Bulgarian artist has developed an oeuvre just as humorous as it is playful, as biting as it is melancholic, and which fundamentally calls in question any kind of representative system.
Since his exhibitions at Ujazdow Castle near Warsaw, New York’s PS1, the Rooseum, Malmö and the Reina Sofia, Madrid and, at the very latest, since his participation in the Venice Biennale and documenta 12 in 2007, Solakov has been at the cutting edge of current European art.
Across the entire formulation of his work, it has been Solakov’s aspiration to compile an encyclopedia of the absurd, the arcane, a history of deviations, differences, embarrassments and broken utopias. The breakdown of the communist system at the end of the 1980s was a defining experience and, at the same time, the curtain-raiser for his search for a new, personal language with which the complexity and fragility of reality could be adequately expressed.
His drawings, texts, videos, photographs, performances, installations, sculptures and murals scratch at the seemingly smooth surface of collective truths, call the givens of the art system and art market into, and, as in his Fear series, reflect on failure as a metaphor of human existence with the help of his own publicly admitted. Solakov’s ability to touch on all these different thematic fields in the form of stories that hold a precise balance between poetic-rhapsodic pleasure in the narration and constant ironic ruptures makes this work not only thoroughly unmistakable, but to the greatest degree also entertaining and humorous.