Nedko Solakov, ‘A Life (Black & White)’ 1998–ongoing
Nedko Solakov, A Life (Black & White) 1998–ongoing . Tate . © Nedko Solakov

Room 11 in Performer and Participant

A Life (Black & White)

Art in A Life (Black & White)

A Life (Black & White)

© Nedko Solakov

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Nedko Solakov
A Life (Black & White)

In Nedko Solakov’s performance work A Life (Black & White), two workers continuously paint the gallery walls. One uses black paint and the other uses white.
The painters follow each other around the space, painting over each other’s work. This is constantly repeated for the length of time the work is on display. The materials used in the performance are also laid out in the space. These include tins of paint, rollers, rags and signs for the painters’ breaks.
In A Life (Black & White), Solakov is exploring issues about work, labour, time and repetition. The piece also comments on the process of making a painting, but here the paint is applied directly onto the gallery wall instead of a canvas.
As well as performance, Solakov makes work in media such as drawing, painting, video and installation. He explains ‘I am telling stories in space’. He frequently plays with the expectations of his audience, using humour to convey political concerns, often about his native Bulgaria. His work also playfully questions the conventions used in galleries and other art institutions.
A Life (Black & White) is one of the performances in Tate’s collection. Tate began collecting performance over a decade ago in response to the growing number of artists that were creating live art. Tate collected A Life (Black & White) through a series of written instructions developed in conversation with the artist.

Gallery label, January 2020

Art in this room

A Life (Black & White)
Nedko Solakov A Life (Black & White) 1998–ongoing