99 Fears by Nedko Solakov

Fear #09: “A fearless adventurer is on his way to climb up his last mountain. After that he will only stay home, reading newspapers, drinking tea and picking his nose. This is the daydreaming in his head right now. He is used to it. Actually this really will be his last mountain. An avalanche is coming.”
Bulgarian artist Nedko Solakov’s latest work is a collection of 99 drawings. Using pen and ink, Solakov describes a range of personal worries and a few of the more general anxieties that characterise modern existence. So it’s cheery stuff then? Well, actually, it’s all very funny – in the wry, existential way of David Shrigley – pairing bleak imagery with a few scrawled sentences in order to bring each piece together…

Avalanche
Fear #09: “A fearless adventurer is on his way to climb up his last mountain. After that he will only stay home, reading newspapers, drinking tea and picking his nose. This is the daydreaming in his head right now. He is used to it. Actually this really will be his last mountain. An avalanche is coming.”

Bulgarian artist Nedko Solakov’s latest work is a collection of 99 drawings. Using pen and ink, Solakov describes a range of personal worries and a few of the more general anxieties that characterise modern existence. So it’s cheery stuff then? Well, actually, it’s all very funny – in the wry, existential way of David Shrigley – pairing bleak imagery with a few scrawled sentences in order to bring each piece together…

Big Fear
Fear #11: “A big fear, a medium-sized fear and a small fear decided to work together on a family of four.”

Balloon
Fear #37: A balloon and a cactus became friends. For the time being – everything OK. The cactus’ pricks are minding the tender balloon, and the balloon keeps itself close to the ground for a better chat with the cactus (even though the balloon can easily go 56 metres high).”

For example, there’s the balloon and the cactus who have to work out the best way to keep their friendship intact (above), or the fearless adventurer (top) dreaming of returning home to a nice cup of tea, unaware that this thought may well be his last if the approaching avalanche has anything to do with it.

Spaceship
Fear #76: “A giant spaceship (with hostile aliens inside) is approaching the Earth. All the people who, in general, are watching Holywood blockbusters are horrified. The rest (72 people in mid Africa) are not scared at all.”

Suicide
Fear #78: “A desperate man wants to commit suicide by jumping from a cliff. Here comes an unexpected obstacle – there is no water down there, only stones, very hard and ominously looking stones.”

Rather nicely, each drawing is reproduced as if anxiously torn straight from Solakov’s sketchbook. Fans will also be able to view all 99 Fears at the Bonn Kunstmuseum in September.

99 Fears is published by Phaidon; £19.95.

See nedkosolakov.net for an extensive collection of Solakov’s conceptual art.

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