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In many of Nikolaev’s works, his perpetual escapology provides a sense of melancholic transportation. The work engages in a double game, a shifting to-and-fro of associations. Fear of a world being lost forever is paralleled with an equally persuasive desire to be rediscovered, differently. From here to there, somewhere to elsewhere, a transformation of subjecthood embodied in the object-world is a means of reminding us whence we came. Things are revealed as both themselves and something more than they once were. The locus of the work hides in many places, things and times at once, almost getting lost but always wanting to be found. As a box of tricks invested in an exchange economy of signs, his objects are at once strange and familiar. Employing certain tactics such as removal, revelation, displacement or dismantling, the status of things is reconfigured by enlarging, reassigning or re-imagining them, so that the resultant work provides an uncanny sense both of its own belonging within, and separateness from, the material world from which it derives.
Paul O’Neill, Bristol, August 2011