As rocks are formed through sedimentary processes, using time, pressure, and debris to consolidate smaller particules into one solid material, Nika Neelova's stratigraphies are the testimony of a period of studio work. Dust and debris created from casting sculpture are suspended in around one hundred layers of jesmonite, which is then scraped away to reveal the layers of the work. This is exemplary of Neelova's interest for replicating natural processes with synthetic means.
“I often choose to use reclaimed architectural features and reclaimed timber because of the historical memory that is embedded in these materials,” says Nika Neelova. “They carry a story of a past life.” Neelova makes evocative sculptures and installations that resonate with associations of history, personal memory, and the rise and fall of civilizations. Deeply informed by her Russian heritage and international upbringing, she is keenly aware of the way that materials and architecture influence our sense of time and place, and that even the most solid structure is subject to ruin. She explores such themes in works like Principles of Surrender (2010), a poetic meditation on the fragility underlying stability, featuring a forest of towering bell clappers, cast in wax and ash, ready to shatter upon first impact.