Michail Michailov

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.