BONN, GERMANY.- Kunstmuseum Bonn presents today Nedko Solakov - Emotions, on view through November 16, 2008. Nedko Solakovs 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, born 1957, 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 (2000), New Yorks PS1 (2001), the Rooseum, Malmö and the Reina Sofia, Madrid (2003) and, at the very latest, since his participation in the Venice Biennale (2007) and documenta 12 (2007), Solakov has been at the cutting edge of current European art. Kunstmuseum Bonn is now devoting the first large, institutional survey of this important work in Germany, which includes artworks from the end of the 1980s to 2007, combined with pieces that the artist has created specifically for this exhibit.
In hardly any other work does the artists fundamental skepticism towards our longing for clarity and lucidity become so explicit as in A Life (Black & White), conceived in 1998, in which a painter paints the walls of a gallery white, while a second painter covers the white paint black, whose effort is in turn painted over by the first painter in white, for the entire duration of the exhibition.
Across the entire formulation of his work, it has been Solakovs 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 (Encyclopaedia Utopia, 1989/90) with which the complexity and fragility of reality could be adequately expressed. Top Secret (1989/90), the publication of an index box, filled with a series of cards detailing the artists youthful collaboration with the Bulgarian secret police, which he stopped in 1983, at one fell swoop makes absolutely clear the artists method that is both provocative and rejects any kind of safety net. In Bulgaria, nineteen years after the changeover, the official files remain closed, and there are no publicly known documents on the artists collaboration.
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 question (A (not so) White Cube, 2001, Leftovers, 2005), reflect on failure as a metaphor of human existence with the help of his own publicly admitted anxieties (Fear, 2002/3), and discover the paradox in the course of political history as the dominant structure in Discussion (Property), 2007). Solakovs 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.
On the occasion of the exhibition, which will afterwards go on tour to Kunstmuseum St. Gallen and the Mathildenhöhe in Darmstadt, a comprehensive catalogue and an edition will be published.