Olympic Hopes
by Nikolay Georgiev
at Spas Setum

Installation view
Nikolay Georgiev, Ironskin #01 (Olympic Hopes), 2021, Xerox scan, print on vinyl, 140 x 200 cm (Part of upcoming LP - Breathing Problem Productions)
Nikolay Georgiev, Ironskin #01 (Olympic Hopes), detail, 2021, Xerox scan, print on vinyl, 140 x 200 cm (Part of upcoming LP - Breathing Problem Productions)
Installation view
Nikolay Georgiev, Ironskin #02 (Olympic Hopes), 2021, Xerox scan, print on vinyl, 140 x 200 cm (Part of upcoming LP - Breathing Problem Productions)
Nikolay Georgiev, Ironskin #02 (Olympic Hopes), detail, 2021, Xerox scan, print on vinyl, 140 x 200 cm (Part of upcoming LP - Breathing Problem Productions)
Installation view
Nikolay Georgiev, Untitled (Olympic Hopes), 2020-2021, Video loop 12:23 min
Nikolay Georgiev, Untitled (Olympic Hopes), 2020-2021, Video loop 12:23 min
Nikolay Georgiev, Untitled (Olympic Hopes), 2020-2021, Video loop 12:23 min


In 1989, after 45 years of communist regime, Bulgaria began transitioning to a free-market economy. As in other Eastern European countries, this change was marked by enthusiasm and hope for a demoсratization of the political system. However, the absence of a structured civil society and the continuous influence of the former secret services on postSoviet society soon complicated the emergence of democratic institutions.

The lack of public debate on these topics and the gradual degradation of the education system are at the root of a new local mass culture, glorifying the symbols of organized crime, abuse of power and male chauvinism. This culture was initially despised by the country’s intelligentsia, which failed to assess the attractiveness of rapid wealth increase among younger people. The combination of these different factors contributed a great deal to redefining Bulgarian cultural identity.

Today, Bulgaria is considered the most corrupt country in the European Union. The name of the project, Olympic Hopes (Олимпийски Надежди), refers to the name of the preparatory school for professional athletes – in particular wrestlers – established during the communist era. Much of the organized crime of the 1990s in Bulgaria stemmed from this background, and some of its figures now hold political responsibilities.


Nikolay Georgiev (alias nikolaiykm) born 1986 in Bulgaria, lives and works in Paris. His work reflects on youth culture related to his personal experience with Eastern Europe in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He uses a range of media in his practice, such as drawings, installation art, sounds and images. In 2018, he started a curatorial project entitled ‘TILT’ in a North Paris suburb, exploring the relationship between notions and concepts including generations, cultural otherness and transgressive aesthetics, as well as the way they are intertwined with our era of global connectivity. In his most recent work, he investigates the specific sociopolitical situation of the last 30 years in Bulgaria – his home country – through historical archives and noise music.

Nikolay Georgiev graduated from the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts in Paris in 2016 after studying fine arts at St. Kliment Ohridski University in Sofia. In 2016, the SaasFee Summer Institute of Art awarded him a funded residency in Berlin



15.10.21 — 10.11.21
Photo by Victor Nikishov
Courtesy of the artist and Spas Setun, Moscow


OLYMPIC HOPES by Nikolay Georgiev at Spas Setum
nikolaiykm.site spassetun.com | @spassetun