Born in 1970 in Sofia (Bulgaria).
Lives and works between Paris (France) and Sofia (Bulgaria).
Stefan Nikolaev's work revolves very clearly around the multiple transformations and blends between what we know about everyday objects and the way the artist encourages us to reconsider them when we think about the new form and vision he invests them with.
The apparent surface of his works conceals a developing narrative, bringing into play the artist's complex relationships with life and death, time and space, consumption and products of vital necessity. This story unfolds its fluid course over more than fifteen years of active presence on the international art scene.
The plot is far from exhausted, and in recent years it has acquired the kind of depth and strong presence that transforms the attractive and playful ideas of a young artist into powerful expression. He pays great attention to the formal execution of his works, to the point of becoming obsessed with the quality of their physical presence. Perhaps this is his way of making his works beautiful and communicative; or perhaps it is his way of making them durable and enduring while overcoming the fears lurking deep within the thinking behind them.
Stefan Nikolaev's typical treatment of form and ideas could be described as characteristic of design, but of a design in the wrong direction: there is too much to read in his works, too much to associate and meditate upon in their presence to be understood in a purely functional mode. This is probably what David Hockney referred to in his famous statement: «Art should transport you, which design does not do, unless of course it is the design of a bus.»
Stefan Nikolaev represented Bulgaria at the 52nd Venice Biennale. He was the founder and co-head of the Parisian space Glassbox created in 1997. He received the UNESCO Prize for the Art at the 4th Cetinje Biennial.
His works have been exhibited in 7th Biennale de Lyon, National Gallery / The Palace with Fondation d'entreprise Ricard (Sofia), 4th Gwangju Biennale, ARC Project (Sofia), Parker's International Art Market (New York), CCA - Centre for Contemporary Arts (Glasgow), Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Sofia Arsenal - Museum for Contemporary Art (Bulgaria), Zwemmer Art (London), Antrepo 4 (Istanbul), National Museum of Contemporary Art (Athens), Fondation Cartier pour l'art Contemporain (Paris), The State Central Museum of Contemporary History of Russia (Moscow), Château d'Asnières (France), BF15 (Lyon), Fondation d'entreprise Ricard (Paris), CCCOD - Center of Contemporary Creation Olivier Debré (Tours)...
"Streetlight" FIAC projects 2018
Stefan Nikolaev, "Still Life", at Michel Rein, Paris, 2022
"Half Life" with Stefan Nikolaev. A film directed by Stanislav Valade. A AM Art production, 2022.
Le Quotidien de l'Art
Le journal des églises de Chelles
No Mind can know what God has in store
A place you've never been before
One for the Money Two for the Show
Publisher: Les Presses du réel