Sariev Contemporary, Plovdiv: HALF-LIFE

Sariev Contemporary, Plovdiv

Stefan Nikolaev

solo exhibition
May 11th – June 30th

curator: Emile Ouroumov

May 11th (Saturday), 6.30 p.m., Sariev Contemporary
Official opening of the exhibition in the presence of the author and the curator

May 11th (Saturday), 5.00 a.m., artnewscafé, Plovdiv, 38 Otets Paisiy St.
Conversation with Stefan Nikolaev hosted by the curator Emile Ouroumov, presentation of Nikolaev’s new catalogue “One for the Money, Two for the Show”

The exhibition “Half-Life” is Sariev Contemporary’s first presentation of works by Paris and Sofia based artist Stefan Nikolaev (b. 1970, Sofia). The show, which will be on display between May 11th and June 30th, will bring forward a selection of recent and specific pieces reunited with significant examples of the artist’s previous work.

Not without some irony – a frequently encountered working tool (or weapon) for Stefan Nikolaev – “Half-Life” aims at a sculptural outcome of various social topics such as the leftovers of personal freedom in contemporary consumer society, the primitive social importance of violence, which continues to be legal tender, and the possible interrelations (or shortcuts) between the sphere of private history on the one hand, and fundamental historical, socio-political and aesthetic themes, on the other. 

The title of the exhibition, which refers to the period of partial radioactive decay in nuclear physics, stems from a desire to deconstruct the retrospective exhibition format, reminding us of our cyclic schizophrenic existence between the aspiration to progress and our chronic cultural and economic mediocrity. The works in “Half-Life” question how we can continue to live on the continental divide between the illusion of permanent growth and the reality of societal decay (with no Hollywood happy ending in sight).

A conversation with Stefan Nikolaev will be hosted on the day of the opening at artnewscafé by the curator Emile Ouroumov. Stefan Nikolaev’s recently published monograph “One for the Money, Two for the Show” (Presses du reel, France, 2013, bilingual, 240p, with texts by Iara Boubnova, Paul O’Neill and Emile Ouroumov) will also be presented on this occasion.

The introductory text for the exhibition has been written by Emile Ouroumov.
The full version can be found at and in the exhibition catalogue.

Stefan Nikolaev (b. 1970 in Sofia, Bulgaria, based in Paris and Sofia) began his studies at the Fine Arts High School in his native city (1983-1988), followed by a course at the Paris School of Fine Arts (1989-1994) and Winchester School of Art in England (1992). There have been many solo shows of his work, including Holy Spirit Rain Down, at Les Eglises contemporary art centre, Chelles, France (2010); New Works Old Dreams, Michel Rein gallery, Paris (2010); Come to Where the Flavour is, CCA, Glasgow (2006); Balkanton, ATA Gallery, Sofia (2004). His work has also been shown in a large number of group shows, including Beyond Credit, Antrepo 4, Istanbul, 2010; Periodic Table, Munich, 2009; Verstehst du das? Neue-Medien-Kunst aus Südosteuropa, Ausstellungshalle zeitgenössische Kunst Münster, 2006; Joy, Casino Luxembourg, Luxembourg, 2005; Prosismic, Espace Paul Ricard, Paris, 2004; A Shot in the Head, Lisson Gallery, London (2001); ZAC, Arc/Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris, 1999; Côte Ouest – Global Motion, University Art Museum, Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara; Andere Sichten, In Vitro and Altro/Field, Kunsthaus Zurich (1999); Multiples, Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin, Ireland. He has taken part in the Lyon Biennial (2007) and presented Bulgaria in the Venice Biennial (2007, together with Ivan Moudov and Pravdoliub Ivanov), as well as the biennials at Gwangju, Korea and Cetinje, Montenegro (2004). His work has also been shown at various art fairs: ArtBasel, FIAC, The Armory Show, ARCO. For his work for the 4th Cetinje Biennial, Stefan Nikolaev was awarded the UNESCO art prize.

Emile Ouroumov (b. 1979, Plovdiv, Bulgaria) studied Visual Arts and Museology (Master’s degree, Paris 8 Saint-Denis University, 2005) and Curatorial Studies (Professional Master’s Degree, Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne University, 2009). He has assisted the curators Hans Ulrich Obrist (Serpentine Gallery, 2009-10), Odile Burluraux (Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, 2009), Pierre Bal-Blanc (Centre d’art contemporain de Brétigny, Greater Paris, 2011/12), and has also gained experience as a gallery assistant at gb agency in Paris (2010) and conservation department / public programmes assistant at MAMCO (Geneva, 2011-12), followed by residencies in Zurich, Geneva and São Paulo. He has curated and co-curated the exhibitions There is as yet insufficient data for a meaningful answer (Villa du Parc art centre, Annemasse, France), Déjà Lu (2011, on the subject of press release lingo), Paper Jam #1 (2010, Paris, a printed exhibition), Paper Jam #2 (2012-), Projection (itinerant video exhibition, 2010-11) and A la limite (2009, Paris, Galerie Journiac). He has recently published an essay on Stefan Nikolaev’s exhibition at the art centre Les églises in Chelles (Greater Paris) and edited Nikolaev’s catalogue One For the Money, Two for the Show, with the Presses du reel. He is currently working on the exhibition The Galápagos Principle (Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2013). His prospective and research interests include the possible passageways between the roles of the curator and the artist, uncommon formats of curating, the relationship between language and art, and the paratexts accompanying contemporary art exhibitions, such as critical writing and press releases.

40 Otets Paisiy str.,
Plovdiv 4000, Bulgaria,

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