exhibition « Powerful Tips »
From 23 June to 24 September 2006
Stefan Nikolaev’s solo exhibition brings into opposition two different atmospheres. It makes use of colour and black as positive and negative terminals of the world of minachaeism which advertising and marketing.
The cigarette is one of the artist’s favourite motifs, and throughout his exhibitions he declines to use ambiguous connotations, somewhere between seduction and prohibition. This iconic object of the forbidden, at a period in time where we are drawn to extreme health consciousness, spreads a toxic atmosphere throughout the first room.
A mural takes up the prevention message printed on cigarettes packets. Enlarged to the same scale as a declaration it appears to advocate in vain for the individual freedom to be reconquered. A previously unseen video delivers the image of an unknown smoker embedded in the wall creating a worrying ghostly presence, an animated sign for a sulphurous, tempting poison. Then there are oversized replicas of marble cigarette packets, bringing to mind classical sculptural vocabulary which is seductive and luxuriant.
Passing into the second room plunges us suddenly into the pumped-up atmosphere of “Powerful Tips”. This painting was conceived as part of a collaboration with the Actiforces* company, and takes apart the elements of its logo: the triangle, the colour green the notion of power resulting from its name. Stefan Nikolaev converts these symbols rooted in the area of communication into abstract painting with a decorative style. Using as a basis the ‘Tips’ provided by a professional guide for people working in communication, he makes this transmutation into the area of art, taking the risk of producing unwanted euphoric effects on the public, as he indicates in the text written to accompany the ensemble.
*“Powerful Tips” was made for the Actiforces consultancy as part of the sponsorship action called “Artistes/Entreprises” (Artists/Companies).