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NIKA NEELOVA

ARTIST STATEMENT

Often utilising reclaimed architectural materials, Nika Neelova is interested in the way materials and architecture influence our sense of time and place. Bypassing straightforward means of fabrication, her work is concerned with finding modes of retrieving and revealing information that is already there and the multiplicities of histories concealed within it as a way of finding and imagining evidence of human pasts through inanimate things.

 

The sculptures are often created by employing tactics of 'reverse archaeology' - considering an alternative reading of human history by examining found objects and architectural debris, and transforming them beyond functionality. In these works the human body and touch remains as a vestigial memory. Drawing arcs between different time periods and disciplines the sculptures form part of larger cycles, temporarily arrested in their current form. Neelova attributes high importance to material transformations often inspired by the latent potency immanent in the materials.

 

The sculptures are often focused on the conversions involved in translating existing objects into other mediums, decoding and recoding their purposes, enacting the processes that were used to shape them, altering their internal structures and liberating objects from their meaning. Matter precedes the object, despite being inevitably tied to it and the processes Neelova borrows and amplifies to shape the work, whether entropic, chemical or manual, are usually processes that have been previously affecting matter naturally. Her installations are often conceived of as speculative archeological sites, unearthing various debris and salvaged materials from lived-in environments, reconciling recognisable day-to-day objects with meditations on geological flows and deep time.

 

This manifests itself in works that hover between the organic and the synthetic; between the remembered collective past and an attempt to glimpse into the future. Unearthed layers expose mutated ruins and explore the fluidity of matter through parallel, contradictory and disparate timelines. Her vast body of work, exploring how the human body, the architectural space and the geology of the earth intertwine, touches on the occurring ecological catastrophe, and the anticipated anthropocene, balancing the tension between human bodies and human-created environments and their understood, but potentially mutated inherent power structure.


BIO

Nika Neelova lives and works in London, where she received her Masters Degree from the Slade School of Art, after graduating with a BA degree from the Royal Art Academy, KABK. Her work has been exhibited in the United Kingdom and internationally, recent solo exhibitions include ‘Very Like a Whale’ at the Santorini Museum in Greece (2023), ‘Thaw’ at Noire Gallery in Turin (2023), ‘One of Many Fragments’ at the New Art Centre, Roche Court (2021), ‘Silt’ at Brighton CCA (2021), CELINE Art Project curated by Hedi Slimane for Celine London (2021), [ъ] [ы] [ь] at Garage MCA (2021), ‘Ever’ at The Tetley, Leeds (2019).

Selected group exhibitions include: ’(Everything) is not what it seems’ curated by Mara Ambrosic for the Piran Coastal Galleries Museum (2023) & NITJA museum, Oslo (2022), From Birth to Earth, Parafin, London (2023), ‘Frieze Allied Editions (2021); ‘Her Dark Materials’ curated by Philly Adams (2021), Art Newspaper 40th Anniversary project (2021), ‘She Sees the Shadows’ curated by Olivia Leahy and Adam Carr for DRAF & Mostyn museum, Wales (2018), ‘Seventeen. The Age of Nymphs’ curated by Daria Khan for Mimosa House, London (2017), ‘Theatre of the Absurd', Green Art Gallery, Dubai (2017).

Nika Neelova was awarded the Kenneth Armitage Young Sculptor Prize, the Land Security Prize Award, the Royal British Society of Sculptors Bursary Award and was the winner of Saatchi New Sensations. In 2017 Neelova attended an alternative study program organised by the Wysing Art Centre in Cambridge. In 2019 she was awarded the Arts Council National Lottery Grant supporting the development of her practice. 

Nika Neelova first gained recognition for her large scale sculptures and sculptural installations, depicting complex, imaginary environments that suggest a place or a landscape out of time. She participated in numerous residencies and her work is represented in various public and private collections internationally.

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