Nikolai Nekh at Syntax


Artist: Nikolai Nekh

Exhibition title: Silent Spring

Venue: Syntax, Lisbon, Portugal

Date: March 24 – May 14, 2016

Photography: Bruno Lopes, images copyright and courtesy the artist and Syntax, Lisbon

Although working across a wide range of media, which escape the category of the somewhat classical, when taking a closer look at the work of Nikolai Nekh we might be surprised to disclose a rather traditional artistic genre. Although not necessarily presented as the final outcome, the still life in the work of Nikolai Nekh occupies in many ways a central position, creating a revised micro economy of carefully selected and composed objects, which although taken from a specific context of the everyday, in many ways capitalise on their original function, through the symbolic value they bring into the “frame”. Although mostly inanimate in their nature, compared to the classical understanding of a still life, conventional categories of object use and object functionality are broken here, allowing for Nekh to treat the inherently static medium rather as a form of an intellectual catalyst and a place of a random encounter of objects, which are brought together on the premises of reflecting and tackling the frequently contradictory nature of our present day.

Playing around with the analogy of a still life here, does not however only allow us to understand the methodology of how Nekh selects and composes his works, but can be suggestive also and most importantly, of the topics, which his current practice has been addressing. The contradiction hidden in the term still life (still and life) here suggest a clash in our understanding of the animate and the inanimate, pointing thus not only to the fading borders between what we understand today to be within the category of the “living” and of the supposedly “dead”, but also and most importantly, to how does this distinction influence our exploitation of the planet that comes hand in hand with the direct capitalisation of the resources it provides.

Silent Spring navigates us into a world of seemingly sensible, yet simultaneously absurd contradictions reminiscent of the flow of energy outside, as well as within the power socket. While faced with a series of small economies, which operate as interdependent clusters, yet bare a clear reference to the frequent absurdity of the systematic whole, the stillness of presented life here echoes the somewhat loud silence of a new season, which has long began (!).

Markéta Stará Condeixa

Silent Spring brings together a series of new or revised works by Portuguese (Russian born) artist Nikolai Nekh (1985) and is the first larger solo presentation of the artists practice in Lisbon. As part of the exhibition, Nikolai Nekh will introduce his latest film A Taste of Sun (2016), which will be screened in a Brunch With Nikolai Nekh in April 2016.


Nikolai Nekh, Navigators, 2016


Nikolai Nekh, Navigators, 2016


Nikolai Nekh, Navigators, 2016


Nikolai Nekh, National Geographic entries, vol. 163 no. 6 June 1983, 2015


Nikolai NekhCurtain, 2016


Nikolai Nekh, Radiator, 2016


Nikolai Nekh, Bookmarks, 2016


Nikolai NekhSun – Sunny,  2016


Nikolai NekhSun – Sunny, 2016 (still from video)


Nikolai Nekh, Navigators, 2016


Nikolai Nekh, Navigators, 2016