“The point of modernity is to live a life without illusions while not becoming disillusioned”, Antonio Gramsci
Nedko Solakov grew up in the People’s Republic of Bulgaria, which was a Soviet satellite state between 1944 and 1990, and is thus accustomed to both reading and writing in between the lines. This experience has
no doubt been formative for him as an artist and has contributed to his wild imagination and the dark, wicked humour that is expressed in much of his work.
These elements are perhaps best expressed in his beautifully crafted figurative and text-based drawings, which probe the human condition, the absurdities of life, and existence in general. In these, an anarchistic
self-made world unfolds in which the individual finds himself at the mercy of both tragic and bizarre twists of fate but is also confronted with the ambiguities and paradoxes that govern life, as well as the darkest of
fears. In Solakov’s world, the imagination is unbridled and there are no rules; anything can and thus will happen. His work is contradictory and tautological alike, illogical, ironic, often nonsensical and yet completely
sane, profound and intelligently funny. What seems very briefly to be naïve at first sight quickly shows its numerous deeper layers of meaning and a philosophical grasp of life. In his critical approach to society and
human beings, Solakov always expresses his vision from a quirky angle and articulates improbable scenarios that reveal deeper truths. He attributes thoughts and feelings to the things that surround us, which gives him the freedom to muse on “the meaning of it all”.
In his work Illusions (2014) made especially for the Thessaloniki Biennale, Solakov expands on the notion of the illusion. This often acquires an anthropocentric form or is transformed into a “thing” which comes to confront us with what is suppressed, constructed, or
frightening and disturbing. In this series, fantasies, projections, illusions and fears appear as real things or beings, able to think and talk and dream and walk.
Sometimes they are hidden within a thought made by someone, or they are presented as what might be a real, tangible illusion, such as a line pretending to be a horizon. At the same time, the characters and thoughts that populate this microcosm also muse on morality, good and evil, freedom of thought and expression, and the psychological baggage we all carry with us and grapple with throughout our lives.