Nika Neelova

Silt

Brighton CCA Brighton, BN2 0JY
22 October – 22 December 2021

Silt is an exhibition of new work by Russian born artist Nika Neelova examining our cultural and physical relationship to water. The exhibition centres on a large scale sculptural installation accompanied by a series of studio works and additional contributions from artists Carolina Caycedo and Rachael Champion.

Beginning with Neelova’s interest in processes of geology; the gradual layering and transformation of materials, over the last 12 months Neelova has been working in collaboration with Brighton CCA and academics at the University of Brighton on a new body of work drawing on disciplines from archaeology and ethnography to literature, natural sciences and ecology. The exhibition title references the process in which materials suspended in water are deposited over time in pipes, at river mouths and estuaries. Silt is mineral rich, fundamental to shaping changing tidal landscapes and renewing fertility.  It is also unstable, thick and a challenge to free-flowing waterways.

Entering the exhibition visitors find themselves in a subterranean world of archaeological strata. Fossils are strewn on the floor while sculptures cast from the interiors of ancient water systems are suspended throughout the space. Neelova cross references the veins and ventricles of the human body with the visual language of museology, transforming the works into the skeletal structure.  Placing the installation within the exposed framework of the gallery, Neelova adds a further layer in which architecture itself is conceived as a kind of body, sustained by the water and air running through the pipes woven within it. The installation is suffused with the accumulation of time and material, of architecture above and below the surface, of people and cultures across time linked and shaped by the liquid flowing around and through us. Combing new work with research via installations, experimental and studio projects, Silt speaks to our shared relationship with water and the physical and cultural sediment this has left through history.

Alongside Neelova’s works, Carolina Caycedo’s film Land of Friends (2014) details the impact of the El Quimbo Hydroelectric Project, Colombia on the indigenous peoples who rely on the river and its tributaries for their physical, social and spiritual wellbeing. Rachael Champion’s installation continues her explorations into human interactions with geological time and the traces we leave on the landscape. In conversation with Neelova’s works these projects open a dialogue between the cultural value of our natural resources and their exploitation in the service of society.

Nika Neelova is an emerging Russian artist based in London. To date her sculptural works have been concerned with the narratives of architecture and materiality. For this new commission with Brighton CCA, Neelova has collaborated with the Centre for Aquatic Environments at the University of Brighton focusing on strategies found in the natural world to adapt to water scarcity and the infrastructures humans have created throughout their history to manage water supply.

Recent exhibitions include ‘EVER’, The Tetley, Leeds (2017); ‘GLYPHS’ Noire Gallery, Turin (2019), ‘drifts (there is always ground, even at night), MLF Brussels, (2018) and ‘She sees the shadows’ Group exhibition DRAF & Mostyn, UK (2018). She studied MA Fine Art Sculpture at Slade School of Art, London.

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Nika Neelova will be in conversation with writer and curator Sophie J Williamson about the exhibition and their shared interests in geological time, materiality and their resonance across cultures.

This talk will happen during the exhibition preview of Silt. The safety of visitors remains a top priority and therefore Brighton CCA are maintaining reduced numbers in the gallery spaces and asking visitors to book time slots for the preview. Please use the Book Now button above to book a space in the gallery for this talk.