Critics’ Picks

Exhibition view.

Zurich

Nedko Solakov

Kunsthaus Zurich
Heimplatz 1
September 2–November 13, 2005

Nedko Solakov’s current show, “Leftovers,” is set up like a miniature art fair—with seven international galleries, but only one artist. Actually, it resembles a cramped storage space, with pieces of artworks tightly stacked and filed like, well, leftovers, sitting on wooden shelves as if waiting for somebody to pick them up. Typical Solakov, the show is a winking sidelong swipe at both the hysteria of the art market and institutional power. By showing a selection of precisely ninety-nine works that haven’t yet been sold by his galleries, Solakov undermines the museum’s prestigious mission, and at the same time wittily stages a retrospective of his own oeuvre, spanning various media. The gathering of the allegedly unsuccessful includes, among some weaker pieces, a number of key works, like the index-card file Top Secret, 1990, in which Solakov documented his past as an involuntary informer in socialist Bulgaria, or the iconic performance A Life (black and white), 2001—presented here on video. Besides his famous scribbled comments, which lurk all over the place, the artist also invited his gallerists to give a statement about the leftovers. With this ironic, self-deprecating double-cross, Solakov is not only pointing out the market’s capriciousness, he’s definitely pushing it. Smart.