Spotlight Sculptor Nika Neelova

Championed by Thomas Marks
The Wick - Fragments shored against the Ruins, Vigo Gallery.  Image courtesy Vigo Gallery
Above  Fragments shored against the Ruins, Vigo Gallery.  Image courtesy Vigo Gallery
The Wick - Nika Neelova at the New Art Centre, One of Many Fragments 2021
Above  Nika Neelova at the New Art Centre, One of Many Fragments 2021
Nika Neelova
24 May 2023
Nika Neelova
24 May 2023
Visit Celine New Bond Street at the moment and you’ll be greeted not by handbags, shoes and clothes, but the work of London-based artist Nika Neelova, this week’s Spotlight chosen by writer and art critic Thomas Marks.

Often utilising reclaimed materials, Nika Neelova’s sculptures explore the way materials and architecture influence our sense of time and place. She says: “My practice is very focused on material transformation and conversions, often imagining new forms of production where each new stage is the by-product of the previous.”
Thomas Marks adds: “Nika Neelova tunes our minds to slow time. Her art opens up deep processes and networks, cadences and spans of time that stretch far beyond individual human experience. Take the Lemniscate works, those great whorls of wood that she fabricates from salvaged bannisters – the material marked by generations of use, then transformed by the artist into enigmatic portals or emblems of infinity.

“Nika is a sculptor with a singular vision. In her work the intellectual and the aesthetic don’t compete, but instead act as accomplices in the expression of the artist’s deep, beguiling intelligence. Her research draws her down intriguing pathways – into the history of science, of geology, of civilizations and their traces – that become prompts to her in generating contemporary wonders. In the Ripple Stone series, for instance, she emulates the prehistoric petrification of sand, the fossilised marks made by waves on a beach, with a modern alchemy involving clay and silicone. Nika’s curiosity is enviable, infectious – and it makes for exhilarating sculpture.”

Marks isn’t the only one to recognise Neelova’s talent. She was awarded the Kenneth Armitage Young Sculptor prize and the Saatchi New Sensations prize in 2010, and the Royal British Society of Sculptors Bursary in 2013. She has also appeared in several group and solo exhibitions, including Glyphs, curated by Domenico de Chirico, in Turin, and Ever, at The Tetley, Leeds.

Later this year, she will be unveiling two solo projects in Greece and Italy, too. Neelova says: “They are both based on completely new bodies of work that I’m currently developing. They are both a departure from the work I have been making in the past years.”

A new show in London will also be announced soon.

About the champion

The Wick - Photo: Pedro Lima; courtesy Marks|Calil

Co-founder of Marks|Calil, a cultural consultancy that provides strategic advice to international arts organisations, Thomas Marks is highly regarded as an art critic, speaker and moderator. He has written widely about contemporary art, most notably as the editor of Apollo magazine from 2013–21. He is also an associate fellow of the Warburg Institute, London and a trustee of Art UK.

“Her research draws her down intriguing pathways – into the history of science, of geology, of civilizations and their traces.”

Place of Birth

I was born in Moscow, raised in Paris, lived in the Netherlands before moving to London.


A BA at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and an MA at the Slade School of Art in London.

Awards, Accolades

The Kenneth Armitage Young Sculptor Prize, Land Securities Prize Award, the Royal British Society of Sculptors Bursary Award, Saatchi New Sensations Prize, and the Arts Council National Lottery Grant, which was hugely helpful in producing two large institutional solo shows at The Tetley, Leeds and Brighton CCA.

Current exhibitions

The Celine art project is on view at the Celine flagship on New Bond Street. I also have a lot of work in progress at the studio for upcoming shows.

Spiritual guides, Mentors

Andrei Tarkovsky, Susan Sontag, Donna Haraway and Pierre Huyghe. Phyllida Barlow and Anne Hardy both were incredible mentors when I was at the Slade, and I’m always very inspired by the many incredible women working in sculpture today.

Share story
Further Information
The Wick - Spotlight Sculptor Nika Neelova

Spotlight Multidisciplinary Artist Favour Jonathan

The Wick - Portrait of Nourine Hammad

Spotlight Hyperrealist Artist Nourine Hammad

The Wick - Portrait of film director, Meena Ayittey

Spotlight Film Director Meena Ayittey

The Wick - Studio portrait of Sasha Ferré

Spotlight Visual Artist Sasha Ferré

The Wick - Portrait of Lucy Smallbone

Spotlight Contemporary Artist Lucy Smallbone

The Wick - Portrait of Spotlight artist Elizabeth Power in Studio, courtesy of the artist.

Spotlight Contemporary Artist Elizabeth Power