Nedko Solakov’s All in (My) Order, with Exceptions

Nedko Solakov’s All in (My) Order, with Exceptions

Fondazione Galleria Civica di Trento

Nedko Solakov, “Poster for The Image of Europe project Streets of Nicosia, Cyprus,” 1995.
64 x 90 cm.

September 26, 2011

Nedko Solakov
All in (My) Order, with Exceptions

Friday, 7 October 2011, 6 pm–8 pm

Fondazione Galleria Civica
Centro di Ricerca sulla Contemporaneità di Trento
Tuesday–Sunday 10:00 am–6:00 pm, free admission
Via Cavour 19, 38122 Trento, Italy
T +39 0461 985511
info [​at​]
Facebook: Fondazione Galleria Civica Trento

Can the exhibition format be transformed into an act of storytelling?
May a museum host an exhibition made only of the worst works, works rejected, for example, by other institutions?
Can art institutions, as well as artworks, be experienced not only through their beauty and meaning, but, more amusingly, also through their unavoidable imperfections and negotiations, as part of a flexible and open discourse on what contemporary art is, has become, could be?

In an attempt to reply, at least partially, these and other questions Fondazione Galleria Civica di Trento is pleased to present the first retrospective at a public institution in Italy by Nedko Solakov (b. 1957 in Cherven Bryag, Bulgaria). An eminent figure on the international art scene, and a true storyteller in and on the contemporary art world, Solakov relies on an approach to making art characterized by a disorienting, often idiosyncratically humorous and melancholic language that lays bare the conventions of daily life and examines our mechanisms of thought, beliefs and values, as well as the relationships between personal stories and collective history, between the private dimension and the social sphere, between reality and imagination.

This exhibition—the largest and most comprehensive ever dedicated to the artist—is an in-depth chronological exploration of Solakov’s artistic practice from 1981 to 2011, and has grown out of a partnership between Fondazione Galleria Civica Trento and Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, S.M.A.K., Ghent, and Museu Serralves, Porto.

Each exhibition, in the four museums, will revolve around different works. In particular the methods of selection have been different: while in Birmingham, Ghent and Porto, the respective curators have drawn on the artist’s archive and have each grouped 30 different works, one per year (from 1981 to 2010), under the single title All in Order, with Exceptions, at Fondazione Galleria Civica the works have been selected directly by the artist from among the “bad ones”, i. e. among those rejected by previous curators, in this way adopting an intimate approach and making a personal comment on the survey format itself. Hence the different title All in (My) Order, with Exceptions.

“It went like this—I prepared for the curators’ meeting in my Sofia studio in early January 2011 as precise and concise visual information as possible for all the sensible works I have done since my graduation from the Sofia Art Academy in 1981. Thirty years of production, 5,683 files, 14.2 gigabytes altogether, put on fancy memory sticks for everybody. We went through all of them in two days (seeing also, in original, all of the pre-1989 works). At the end of the second day, all the curators came to a consensus and selected the best works for each year (I didn’t interfere, mostly) [...] Later each one of them selected only one work per year; some works overlapped, some didn’t. [...] Out of the broad selection, I made the so-called folders for each year, which the visitors can look through and read while sitting on the folders’ crates. [...] As you can see from the title, all this is called All in Order, with Exceptions. But there is a special insert into this traveling show—in Galleria Civica Trento, I will do All in (My) Order, with Exceptions. I have selected works out of the works initially rejected by the curators, the best of the bad ones.” (Nedko Solakov)

Moreover, the exhibition at Fondazione has been conceived by the artist as a further, new artwork in itself. Inside the exhibition venue the artist will use drawings and text placed directly on the white walls to link together the various works on exhibit: 31 pieces, plus one per year, from 1981 to 2011, including drawings and watercolours on paper, paintings on canvas, wall pieces, texts, mosaics, photographs, videos, and reconstructions of installations and never-realized projects, created especially for the show.

Adding in their various “exceptions” (works exhibited long after their creation), All in Order, with Exceptions and All in (My) Order, with Exceptions comprise a masterful exhibition project, both personal and encyclopedic, that reconstructs the entire life of Nedko Solakov in four different ways within four different art institutions: a unique but, at the same time, multiple autobiography that we can literally walk through, with its mix of straightforward decisions and pure chances, big achievements and small compromises, good things and bad things. This vast scope of the body of work that the artist has produced over thirty years can also be grasped by browsing through the files of an archive, created by the artist especially for this project (The Folders, 2011), which documents hundreds of pieces, along with historical facts that Solakov considers significant in relation to each year of his life.

The exhibition will be accompanied by the first retrospective catalogue of the artist’s work, published by Hatje Cantz and co-produced by Ikon Gallery (Birmingham), S.M.A.K. (Ghent), Museu Serralves (Porto) and Fondazione Galleria Civica (Trento). In addition to illustrations of all the works presented in the four exhibitions, and comprehensive documentation of the artist’s archive, the monograph includes new essays by Iara Boubnova (Founding Director, Institute of Contemporary Art, Sofia), Christy Lange (Associate Editor, Frieze) and an interview with the artist on art and fairy tales by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev (Artistic Director, d(OCUMENTA)13).

The exhibition in Trento is curated (largely to guarantee that all the decisions made by the artist himself will be respected: and this did not fully happen, as art institutions are everything but perfect, as Nedko knows…) by Andrea Viliani, Director of Fondazione Galleria Civica di Trento, with Giulia Corradi, Assistant Curator.

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*Image above:
Courtesy of the artist, The Image of Europe, and Galleria Continua San Giminiano / Beijing / Le Moulin

Nedko Solakov's All in (My) Order, with Exceptions
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September 26, 2011

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