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 as a way of finding and imagining evidence of human pasts through inanimate things.
Neelova’s 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 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.
Nika Neelova studied at the Royal Art Academy in The Hague (2008) and the Slade School of Art, London (2011). She 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.
Recent solo exhibitions include ‘One of Many Fragments’ (with Edward Allington), New Art Centre Roche Court (2021), ‘SILT’, Brighton CCA (2021), ‘EVER’, The Tetley, Leeds (2019), and ‘Glyphs’, curated by Domenico de Chirico, Turin (2019). Selected group exhibitions include ‘(Everything is) Not What it Seems’, NITJA Museum, Oslo (2022, touring to Piran Museum of Visual Art, Slovenia, 2023), ‘Silence is so accurate’ at Geukens de Vil, Antwerp (2020), ‘Seventeen. The Age of Nymphs’ curated by Daria Khan, Mimosa House, London (2019), ‘Hortus Conclusus’, Fondazione 107, Turin (2019), ‘She Sees the Shadows’, curated by Olivia Leahy and Adam Carr, The Roberts Institute of Art & Mostyn (2018).
Selected collections included Celine Art Collection, New Art Centre Collection, The Roberts Institute of Art, London, Saatchi Gallery Collection, London, Modern Forms, London, Noire Foundation, Turin, Fondazione 107, Turin, Museum Biedermann Collection, Germany, Beth de Woody Collection, New York, Levett Collection, Land Securities, London, Beckers Collection, Sweden, and private collections worldwide. Nika Neloova lives and works in London.
A major new site specific commission will open at Santozeum, Fira Town, Santorini, on 2 September 2023.