Issue 7 Failure Summer 2002

Romantic Landscapes with Missing Parts

Nedko Solakov

“Romantic Landscapes with Missing Parts” were executed in the murky winter of 2001-2002 up north in Stockholm in a nice studio at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts.

That was a very hard, horrible time for me, the conceptual artist who pretends that being classically educated in mural painting 20 years ago gives him some kind of advantage. Most of the time during these three months I was really pissed off by my inability to achieve in paint what I wanted (not to mention the bitter feeling that I was not quite sure what I actually did want). In such moments I had an enormous desire to close my eyes and have all the canvases, oil paints, brushes, easels, and palettes disappear so that I could again start dealing with ideas (mainly)—a relatively easy (at least for me) way of working. But I kept doing the paintings, day by day, night after night, fiercely trying to accomplish them in an acceptable way for an audience like you.

“Why am I doing this?!” I had been asking myself this constantly, when one day I realized that perhaps the reason for me to keep going was that I had the little hope that all the parts missing from these romantic landscapes—

the moon itself;
the mountain’s reflection on the tranquil surface of the lake;
the light in general;
the sailor’s boat;
all the profound thoughts in the philosopher’s head;
the flock of anxious birds;
the exhausted pilgrim’s tracks over the deep snow;
Europa;
the castle on the top of the mountain;
the rainbow’s violet band;
the purse of the wanderer (not the obviously unfinished painting);
the artist’s concentration (a substantial part of the horizon goes unexpectedly down)

—would have a better and more interesting life when left outside the paintings.

Nedko Solakov is a Bulgarian artist living and working in Sofia. His work has been exhibited in many venues, including the 48th and 49th Venice Biennials, the 3rd and 4th Istanbul Biennials, the 1994 São Paulo Biennial, and Manifesta 1. The series from which his Cabinet contribution is drawn was first presented at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin, in May 2002 and will then travel to the Ulmer Museum, Ulm, and Reina Sofia, Madrid.

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