Michail Michailov is born in 1978 in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria, living and working in Vienna and Paris. He studied at the Faculty of Visual Arts in Veliko Tarnovo (1999-2004) and Art History at the University of Vienna (2002-2007). From 2006-2009 he was working in cooperation with the Artist Group Gelitin. Besides several residences and awards he got the Drawing Now Paris Art Award 2018 and the Austrian State Scholarship for visual art 2017. Selected exhibitions: VIVRE une exposition de Michel Nuridsany, ICI.gallery, Paris (2018); Extraterrestes, Cabane Georgina, Marseille (2018); Money in the art, Galerie im Traklhaus, Salzburg (2018); BONE 20 performance art festival, Bern (2017); Let them draw II(drawing and withdrawing), Sariev Contemporary, Plovdiv (2017); Images in Language and the Language of Images, Dom Museum, Vienna (2017); You want Truth or Beauty, Kunsthalle Nexus, Salzburg (2017); The Observatory, Special Astrophysical Observatory, KarachayCherkess Republic (2016); The eaten apple, Viennacontemporary, Zone1 (solo, curated), Vienna (2016); The Chicken Thief, Sotheby's (solo), Vienna (2016); 34. Austrian graphic award, Gallery Taxispalais, Innsbruck (2015); Take off your shoes II, Projektraum Viktor Bucher, (solo),Vienna (2014); The Dignity of Man, The Brno Haus of Arts, Brno (2014); Bulgarian Artists in Vienna. Contemporary Practices at the Beginning of the 21st Century, Sofia City Art Gallery, Sofia (2013); Absolut Vienna, Wien Museum, Vienna (2012); living on the edge of a silver future, 5020 Galerie, Salzburg (2011); curated by Jennifer Lacey, Les Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers, Paris (2010); Value point, Hilger Contemporary, Vienna (2009); Austria contemporary, Essl Museum, Klosterneuburg (2008); Situation and Spectacle, Paul Klee Centre, Bern (2007).
The artist Michail Michailov uses in his works different artistic media such as performance, drawing, photography, video. In his approach he deals in a playful manner with his own "self" or "I" in relation to his environment/surrondings/situation. Questions about the human presence/being are being asked. Success and failure, self-discovery and self-doubt, the quest for happiness, the transcendence of limits are recurrent topics. In doing so he uses his own name(s) and personality as a metaphor for the existence, the I and the pursuit of individual self-fulfillment in a globalised society. He takes on different cultural phenomena which influence human behavior and questions a striving for perfection society.
In his creative processes Michailov helfs himself amongst other various 'parasitical strategies', like for example the manipulation of advertising posters of art museums or uses the works by other artists as a basis for his own art works. Through interventions in the public space Michailov refers to and manipulates the spatial environment, which leads to irritations and new ways of seeing.
In his drawing series "dust to dust" (2014 - 2018) he dedicates to these fluffy balls of dust and stains, which have been gradually gathered in his studio, by accurately depicting them with coloured pencils on paper. By doing so he moves - on the one hand - to an unobserved running phenomenon - the gathering of dust and dirt in our consciousness and on the other, through this he uplifts the dirt into a piece of art. The intensive effort which the drawing reproduction process takes, stands in a strong discrepancy to the actual value of the primary material.
- Elsy Lahner, Contemporary Art Curator, Albertina Museum, 2017
Michailovs approach/actions appear subversive due to their spontaneous character and consciously applied strong symbolics.
- Photographer: Hannes Anderle
- Description: in "headspacing" I am becoming my own exhibtion space in my mind and my reality. I am questioning "who am I" involving the question where does my body end-is my body connected to the mind and isn´t it already me, whatever interacts with me consciously/unconsciously. Is the the house I am living in or the exhibition space I am entering already part of my body? are the human beings I am surrounded with part of me? If I create something, how is it connected with me or my body. when design/architecture interacts with me, is it already part of me in that moment? What is the goal to strengthen my own views, spaces and connections and where is it leading me to.
- Copyright: Michail Michailov
Dust to dust, 2017.
- Photographer: Sariev Contemporary
- Material: coloured pencil on paper
- Description: The series of drawings dust to dust connects several of Michail Michailovs works, which he realised in different forms and media and suits the important questions of life and existence the artist poses himself. He connects the issue of inner purity - as a condition to achieve perfection - with the external cleaning of his rooms and surrounding. So inner and outer cleansing are artistically rendered.
The series shows dust and dirt like in a nature study. In the beginning he just used the automatically appearing dust bunnies in his atelier/studio as model for this pictures, meanwhile he graphically transforms stains and spots out of his immediate surroundig such as bath or kitchen.
The process of drawing takes nearly as long as, or longer as the development of the dirt itself and therefore becomes sort of a mediative contemplaption contrasting the active awareness of the artist with the uncoscious developement of dirt and stains. This way this undesirable meaningless phenomenon/effect takes on a whole new significance. The unconscious gets into awareness, things unlikely to be seen become visible. The high level of drawing effort, which is necessary for this reproduction, playfully raises questions of meaning and value of man and art.
The drawings are presented as an installation within an especially created frame out of skirting boards and can be exhibited hanging on the wall as well as lying on the floor. Dust and dirt, very common to everybody but also repelling and easily overlooked, open up to new perspectives when displayed as a drawing. The aesthetics are only made clear by hanging them on the wall. Relating them to naturally developed dirtstains the spectator gets a new perception and another view on things. The handpainted microcosmos is supposed to provoke thought and enable new associations.