The Voeten Collection represents a unique combination of both Belgian and international works. Currently it comprises over 1700 art pieces that have been collected during a period of more than 40 years. They are exhibited in two separate locations – at the Art Center close to Herentals and at the sculpture park near Gheel.

Nedko Solakov

My Life, 1990, acrylic, oil, graphite, PVC, steel, bronze, aluminium on wood (5 parts), 120 x 450 x 3 cm

Nedko Solakov (°1957, Cherven Briag, Bulgaria) can be seen as one of Bulgaria's most internationally known contemporary artist. His artistic practice consist of works made in a time-period for over more than thirty years. Nedko Solakov enjoyed a classical education in mural techniques at the Academy of Sofia, but his art practice turned out to be more conceptual. He mainly makes drawings, paintings, videos and installations, which always radiate some kind of absurd atmosphere. Most of his works are accompanied by fictional, witty and humoristic texts.

My Life, made in 1990, fulfills a special place in the oeuvre of Nedko Solakov. The work was made during a rather difficult period in his life. The communistic regime had just ended and Nedko Solakov had to find a way to get his life back on track, while dealing with mixed feelings about his involvements with the Bulgarian Secret Service. As you can see, the works consist of five panels that look a bit like gravestones. In a way the work can be interpreted as the burial of his political past. The words 'My' and 'Life' are written in Bulgarian on the second and fourth panel. The others panels lead us from his childhood, through the communist regime (by the depiction of for example old cut outs from Soviet Magazines, a textbook with Lenin behind his desk and a socialistic cooperative yard), to his artist practice and the statement I am Guilty. The last panel consists of drawings of his children Vesselina and Dimitar. Their names are written in Bulgarian, next to the words Good Luck, whishing them all the best in their life.

One says that art always mirrors the society. Nothing is more true for the works of Nedko Solakov. Through the use of endlessly stories and images, Nedko Solakov managed to criticize the regime in a indirect manner. After the fall of the communism, he kept on questioning doubtful practices in the (art)world and (political) society. And even today, while overwhelming us with his ironic and witty stories, Nedko Solakov contemplates on different aspects of our life and above all the forming of our 'identity' in all its aspects.

For more information about the artist, please visit: www.nedkosolakov.net

Text: Lisa van Gerven