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Stefan Nikolaev


Biography

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)...


Selected works

What You See Is What You Got, Stefan Nikolaev
Half Life, Stefan Nikolaev
God save the hobby horse, Stefan Nikolaev
Be yourself no matter what they say, Stefan Nikolaev
Ricchi e Poveri - Irony Masks, Stefan Nikolaev
Plus rien, Stefan Nikolaev
Testament, Stefan Nikolaev
Streetlight #18111, Stefan Nikolaev
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Museum exhibitions

National Gallery, Sofia

National Gallery, Sofia

National Gallery, Sofia

National Gallery, Sofia

Villa Carpentier, Ronse-Renaix

Villa Carpentier, Ronse-Renaix

Grand Palais, Paris

Grand Palais, Paris

Goethe-Institut Bulgarien, Sofia

Goethe-Institut Bulgarien, Sofia

Art Brussels

Art Brussels

Parcours Saint-Germain, Paris

Parcours Saint-Germain, Paris

Parcours Saint-Germain, Paris

Parcours Saint-Germain, Paris

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Stefan Nikolaev -

25 years and 5 themes later. Ica-Sofia retrospective, National Gallery / The Palace, Sofia, Bulgaria, ph. Kalin Serapionov

Stefan Nikolaev -

25 years and 5 themes later. Ica-Sofia retrospective, National Gallery / The Palace, Sofia, Bulgaria, ph. Kalin Serapionov

Stefan Nikolaev -

Streetlight, Toutes Les Lignes Droites Sont Courbes (cur. by Yolande De Bondtridder), Villa Carpentier, Ronse-Renaix, Belgium, 2020

Stefan Nikolaev -

Streetlight, FIAC Projects, Avenue Winston-Churchill, Grand Palais, Paris, France, 2018, ph. Marc Domage

Stefan Nikolaev -

On a clear day you can see forever, Galerie - Goethe-Institut Bulgarien, Sofia, Bulgaria, 2018, ph. Galia Yotova

Stefan Nikolaev -

Sculpture project, Art Brussels, Belgium, 2018, ph. David Plas

Stefan Nikolaev -

Parcours Saint-Germain, Paris, France, 2018, ph. Alice Gotheil

Stefan Nikolaev -

Parcours Saint-Germain, Paris, France, 2018, ph. Alice Gotheil

Stefan Nikolaev -

I Walk a Labyrinth Which is a Straight Line, St Joseph church, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, 2017

Stefan Nikolaev -

I Walk a Labyrinth Which is a Straight Line, St Joseph church, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, 2017

Stefan Nikolaev -

Stefan Nikolaev: I Walk a Labyrinth Which is a Straight Line, SARIEV Contemporary, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, 2017

Stefan Nikolaev -

Stefan Nikolaev: I Walk a Labyrinth Which is a Straight Line, SARIEV Contemporary, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, 2017

Stefan Nikolaev -

Business, Model, Sculpture, SARIEV Contemporary, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, 2015

Stefan Nikolaev -

Business, Model, Sculpture, SARIEV Contemporary, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, 2015

Stefan Nikolaev -

Business, Model, Sculpture, SARIEV Contemporary, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, 2015

Stefan Nikolaev -

Why Duchamp ?, Sofia Arsenal Museum, Bulgaria, 2012

Stefan Nikolaev -

N Minutes Video Art Festival, Shanghaï, China, 2011

Stefan Nikolaev -

Holy Spirit Rain Down, Les Eglises - Centre d'Art Contemporain, Chelles, France, 2010

Stefan Nikolaev -

Holy Spirit Rain Down, Les Eglises - Centre d'Art Contemporain, Chelles, France, 2010

Stefan Nikolaev -

Holy Spirit Rain Down, Les Eglises - Centre d'Art Contemporain, Chelles, France, 2010

Stefan Nikolaev -

52th Venice Biennial, Bulgarian Pavilion, Italy, 2007

Stefan Nikolaev -

52th Venice Biennial, Bulgarian Pavilion, Italy, 2007

Stefan Nikolaev -

52th Venice Biennial, Bulgarian Pavilion, Italy, 2007

Stefan Nikolaev -

Powerful Tips, Centre de Création Contemporaine, Tours, France, 2006

Stefan Nikolaev -

Powerful Tips, Centre de Création Contemporaine, Tours, France, 2006

Stefan Nikolaev -

Powerful Tips, Centre de Création Contemporaine, Tours, France, 2006

Stefan Nikolaev -

Powerful Tips, Centre de Création Contemporaine, Tours, France, 2006

Stefan Nikolaev -

Powerful Tips, Centre de Création Contemporaine, Tours, France, 2006

Stefan Nikolaev -

Come to where the Flavour is, CCA, Glasgow, UK, 2005

Stefan Nikolaev -

Come to where the Flavour is, CCA, Glasgow, UK, 2005

Stefan Nikolaev -

Come to where the Flavour is, CCA, Glasgow, UK, 2005

Stefan Nikolaev -

Bad Lux, Zoo Galerie, Nantes, France, 2005

Stefan Nikolaev -

Frontalunterricht (with Robert Stadler), Fondation d'entreprise Ricard, Paris, France, 2003

Stefan Nikolaev -

Monument to Monument, Transit, Chur, Switzerland, 2003

Stefan Nikolaev -

Monument to Monument, Transit, Chur, Switzerland, 2003

Stefan Nikolaev -

Under Reconstruction, 4th, Cetinje Biennal, Montenegro, 2002

Stefan Nikolaev -

Under Reconstruction, 4th, Cetinje Biennal, Montenegro, 2002

Stefan Nikolaev -

Under Reconstruction, 4th, Cetinje Biennal, Montenegro, 2002

Stefan Nikolaev -

Under Reconstruction, 4th, Cetinje Biennal, Montenegro, 2002

Stefan Nikolaev -

HLM, Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France, 1994, Musée français de la carte à jouer collection

Stefan Nikolaev -

HLM, Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France, 1994, Musée français de la carte à jouer collection


Videos

FOCUS WORK

"Streetlight" FIAC projects 2018

EXHIBITION

Stefan Nikolaev, "Still Life", at Michel Rein, Paris, 2022

DOCUMENTARY

"Half Life" with Stefan Nikolaev. A film directed by Stanislav Valade. A AM Art production, 2022.


Press

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Publications

One for the Money Two for the Show

One for the Money Two for the Show

Publisher: Les Presses du réel

2012


Portfolio