Nika Neelova's artistic practice is inspired by the architectural environment and those elements that serve as intermediaries between man and space. The artist transforms familiar objects, revealing their hidden potential: the handrails twist into spirals, the parquet board rears up, the walls expose the frame. Objects seem to reinvent themselves, proving the existence of such a world in which the ability of things to arbitrarily change shape is not an aesthetic gesture, but a law. According to Gaston Bachelard “expressive power turns into essence”.
Untitled (folding chairs), this piece traces the outlines of plastic folding chairs replicated in copper and steel, combined and blended with one another. The folds conceal the chair's formerly recognisable shape reducing it to its margins, its borders. Originally developed for its suitability and convenience, the chair is transformed into an abstract configuration and withdraws from the human domain in an attempt to find and expose other overlooked properties.
Lateral cuts refer to a site of phantom architecture and architectural mutations. It is a network of sculptures based on computer generated images of a lateral crosssection exposing the internal layers of a building by making a straight cut through its walls and foundations. Transecting the architectural body in order to uncover its enclosed structural layers, the sculptures are formed following methods of reverse archaeology. Exposing the remnants of the building replicated in ardex, jesmonite, hand-cast ceramics, glass and metals the sculptures recreate the future ruins of the facades, external and internal walls, insulation, underfloor heating, cabling, pipework, skirting boards, flooring and screed. By revealing the “hidden geology” of buildings, the pieces trace a line of continuity between the human body, architecture and geology of earth.
The Lemniscate series are sculptures made from wooden bannisters each from two flights of stairs, reclaimed from houses awaiting demolition, repurposed and fitted together so that each forms an infinite loop. A lemniscate, in mathematics, is a curved line or plane with a distinct 8-shape, consisting of two loops that meet at a central point.
A handrail is moulded specifically to fit in the palm of the hand. It is the meeting point of human body and architecture. It acts as a mediator between space and the body and guides the hand into three-dimensional space. Its wooden surface, altered by prolonged exposure to touch, also collects microscopic bits of skin. So, each sculpture carries the DNA of hundreds of people, and is a collective portrait of the absent human bodies who have come through the now demolished houses. Closely connected to human touch and presence, the sculptures seem to choreograph the absent human body through space.