Nadezda Nikolova (b. 1978, Serbia) is a Croatian-Bulgarian-American artist based in Oakland, California. She studied 19th-century phototrophic (light energy capturing) printing processes at the University of Kentucky and the George Eastman Museum. Having learned the old photographic techniques so prized and reused today, she produces photograms on wet collodion plates (called tintypes). Imaginary landscapes created in the darkroom in a very short time, before the sensitive surface dries, using brushes and paper masks. On the borderline between photography and drawing, this practice, combining the photographic process with the pictorial gesture, disturbs our perception of the image, which seems to float between two waters or stagnate in a latent space.
Drawing undulating flows of saturated or ashy blacks, immaculate or pitted whites, the plates assembled to create large compositions break down the Elemental Forms of landscapes (to use the title of his Elemental Forms series) into sequences, as if to stop or “make time tangible” and to de-multiply or rearticulate space.
In his synthetic and textured landscapes, one is reminded of Georgia O’Keeffe’s large desert floors. Like the legendary figure of American modernism, it is, in fact, the telluric force and “energetic imprint” but also the “mystery” of “geological forms” enlivened by light that the photographer, who has a degree in environmental sciences, has sought to convey in this series, begun in 2018. A sort of physical experience, of interiorizing the landscape, of the “immanence” of the earth, which has led the artist to a growing abstraction. Thus, his Landscape Rearticulated (begun in 2019), deconstructing the landscape into abstract geological-organic formations. And so, with his latest cascades of desynchronized waves, entitled Immanent Forms, inviting us to reinvent our perception of the landscape.
NADEZDA NIKOLOVA: Elemental Forms
Galerie Esther Woerdehoff
36, rue Falguière, Paris XIV
Until March 25th