NIC HESS

King Gerrit

NIC HESS 777

source: artdaimler

Gerrit Rietveld’s revolutionary Red-Blue Armchair dating from 1918-23 was made of simple square timber and two timber surfaces, accentuated by the De Stijl color range. The rational design of Rietveld’s original was linked with the Utopian idea that abolishing the divisions between work of art and consumer object enabled us to experience the vision of an ideal design for our environment. Nic Hess used rolls of adhesive tape to extend the chair’s active color range for his sculpture König Gerrit [King Gerrit], and they now grow into the space like snails. Colored adhesive tapes of American provenance form part of the material base for Nic Hess’s drawn installations. He has been taking possession not just of walls and ceilings, but whole rooms intellectually and actually since the late 1990s, using colored pencils, industrial paint, collaged images and colored tapes. Here he is acting more like a graffiti artist who has landed up in art localities than a painter.
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source: calendarartcat
For his second solo exhibition at The Project, New York, Swiss artist Nic Hess marks a departure from his site-specific, large-scale tape “drawings” with a series of new sculptures. In the same vein, however, Hess continues to make critical use of familiar images and logos now rampant in society. By isolating and dissecting these images in seemingly incongruous arrangements, he is able to provide revelatory new aesthetic contexts outside of the inscribed value systems of commercial capitalism.

The sculpture King Gerrit borrows from Gerrit Rietveld’s Red Blue Chair, one of the most iconic pieces of modern furniture. In Hess’ version, the back of the chair is lengthened to the point of instability and the legs are secured with colored masking tape that extends to the surrounding floor space—much like his signature linear designs. Appearing more like a throne than a chair, this is an homage at once explicit and open-ended to the furniture designer (Hess studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in the Netherlands from 1992 to 1996).

Several of Hess’ new sculptures feature different body parts in isolation. In From Crutch to Cane, a display dummy holds a cane while also balancing an 18th century gun on the same arm. Forming a long zigzag that is constructed out of several canes, this floor installation is a reminder of human frailty—canes used by the elderly, crutches by the injured. Hess also transforms a carved wooden mask from Lötschental, the largest valley in the Bernese Alps, into a fountain-sculpture titled Brunnen. Water pumping through the eyes gives it anthropomorphic qualities, suggesting a suspended state of grief.

Similarly, in Giacometti (hello), an I.V. stand is transformed into a mobile figure with outstretched arms and a head composed of an oversized, rolled-up 1,000 Swiss Franc bill bearing the face of Giacometti. The work is another example of the artist’s enduring investigation of the intersection of art with the social, political, and economic implications of Switzerland’s private banking sector.

Off-Shore Island Trade, a five piece wall installation, takes as its point of departure the disappearance of Paul Cézanne’s Boy in a Red Waistcoat from the E.G. Buehrle Collection museum earlier this year. Here, the painting reappears sitting in a palm tree on an unknown island. Cézanne’s work is used as a symbol for money, with further references to Switzerland’s “banking secrecy” and the inevitable corruption that comes with the manipulation of taxation law loopholes.

Nic Hess was born in 1968 in Zurich. Selected solo exhibitions include the Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh; bytheway projects, Amsterdam; Arndt & Partner, Zurich; Casa del Lago, Mexico City; Swiss Institute, New York. Projected exhibitions include the Hammer Museum in spring 2009.
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source: e-flux

The Swiss artist Nic Hess (b. 1968) draws the motifs for his large format drawings from the alluring, colorful vocabulary of contemporary imagery, including advertising, consumption, tourism, modern architecture and icons of contemporary art history. Sampled like collages and inventoried in layers, this common imagery of Western Culture relinquishes part of its individual formal and contextual significance. Hess develops a novel pictorial language with an affinity to installation procedures. The works’ extreme size supersedes their surroundings and questions their spatial orientation, even though they are completed on a site-specific basis.

Analogous to the materials used—commonly found colored tapes, printed pages or rolls of paper—the drawings do not exude a deep sensuality: rather it is their fleetingness, smart surfaces and the appearance of our nervous, contemporary ways of looking that captivate us. That Hess’ works appear to oscillate between rampant overexpansion and reckless abbreviation is dependent on one’s perspective. They generate simultaneously a sense of the static and the dynamic. Besides creating a desire for associative play, they focus attention on the formal conditions of their execution and the short-lived duration of their immediate presence in the exhibition space. The viewer is invited on a fascinating voyage of perception, controlled by the image and activated by one’s movement through space.

For the Kunsthalle Münster, Nic Hess has conceived a room-filling installation covering numerous wall surfaces. Consisting of new and previously completed works, The Stuff the Dreams Were Made Of creates layers of meaning from predominantly black-and-white imagery—picture sequences drawn from the automobile, travel, and culture industries arranged as set pieces and printed in a dated, offset lithography process. Additionally, first-time ceiling-high plots printed with camouflage patterns and other images from the artist’s archive—work sketches and images downloaded from the Internet—hang like tapestries and document his earlier collages.

The diversity, material groupings and contexts of all these visual elements do not distill into a unifying narrative. What remains instead is a kaleidoscope of images that speak to us in myriad ways. They also, through their speciousness, move us to reflect the conditions of how we perceive.

Through repetition and confusing gaps and breaks, the new works conceived for the Kunsthalle Münster open up disjointed, often disturbing—yet simultaneously mysterious—pictorial sequences of a dream-like world: globalized conglomerates of the real, the embedded, the imagined, and the desired—things that in dreams are removed from the categories of right or wrong—circulate through our subconscious. And is adverting—the creation of desire for a seemingly perfect world—not an integral part of our waking lives? Hess’s exhibition points to a likely outcome in the future, even as it appears to become more and more our condition of the present. His work, however, does not express pessimistically the cultural failure of a societal utopia, but rather the productive reversal from the possible future to a possible past, whose horizons of expectation attempt to elucidate the present.

Given that the past can also have a present, the band Frankie & Tony, Duo en Vogue will play during the opening under the moniker “The smallest Swing Orchestra of the World, with Tony Carbone Old Blue Eye Frank Sinatra and Every Woman’s Darling,” Herméto Ze Maria (aka Nic Hess). What remains are an empty stage and a silent echo that the visitor to the exhibition in the Kunsthalle Münster can not hear because it has not yet occurred. It is imminent.

The exhibition is curated by Gail Kirkpatrick and Marcus Lütkemeyer.

Nic Hess lives and works in Zürich. Solo exhibitions (selection): Big Timetable for a Tiny City, Grieder Contemporary, Zürich (2015); highways and byways. together again, Daimler Contemporary, Berlin (2014); Archivo teatral, Figge von Rosen Gallery, Berlin (2014); The Birds (For Lilou), Swiss Institute, New York (2012); Automatic Crash Response, Armand Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2009); and Wall, Muri (with Frederico Herrero), Fondazione Bevilacqua, Venice (2006).
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source: franziskakessler

Nic Hess ist bekannt für die mitreissende Dramaturgie in der Gestaltung von Wänden und Räumen, die er wie ein Meister der Graffiti-Kunst mit gestischen Chiffren und Bildern überzieht. Sein ikonographisches Repertoire besteht aus vertrauten Emblemen unserer Konsumgesellschaft, vermischt mit Bildern aus Kunstgeschichte und Populärkultur. Er spinnt den Faden der Erzählung ganz nach seinem Gutdünken und überlässt die Interpretation gewollt der Phantasie des Betrachters.
Auf dem Teppich «Monumental Tour» wandert der Blick fünf Bildfiguren ab: Ein schreitender Elefant trägt einen Rucksack mit einem meditierenden Buddha, der wiederum den Kopf eines amerikanischen Ureinwohners trägt. McDonalds-Schriftzeichen fassen den Erzählstrang ein und sind in ihrer Wiederholung eine (ironische) Anspielung auf die Abschlüsse von ornamentalen, antiken Teppichen. Der gutmütige Elefant hält im Rucksack seines Gedächtnisses die Figuren von Buddha und den Indianern wach. Aber so, wie sich die Bilder und Assoziationen vermischen und gegenseitig ersetzen, so verklären sich die Mythen und verdreht sich die Geschichte. Daraus lässt Nic Hess eine harmonische, aber auch verwirrende Folge von Welten entstehen, die man zu erkennen meint und die sogleich wieder entschwinden.
Nic Hess (geboren 1968 in der Schweiz) studierte an der Gerrit Rietveld Akademie in Amsterdam und an der Hochschule der Künste in Berlin. Neben Einzelausstellungen in renommierten Häusern wie dem Kunsthaus Baselland, Schweiz (2003), dem Haus der Kunst, München (2004), dem Museo de Arte de Zapopan, Guadalajara, Mexiko (2007), und dem Armand Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2009), nahm er auch an zahlreichen Gruppenausstellungen teil, so in «Lichtkunst aus Kunstlicht», ZKM, Karlsruhe (2005); «Piktogramme – Die Einsamkeit der Zeichen», Kunstmuseum Stuttgart (2006); «Minimalism and Applied», DaimlerChrysler Contemporary, Berlin (2008); «Pictures about Pictures», MUMOK (Museum Moderne Kunst, Wien, 2010) oder «Art, Stars and Cars», Mercedes Benz Museum, Stuttgart (2011) sowie Einzelausstellungen in Berlin und Zürich (2012). Er hat zahlreiche Auszeichnungen erhalten, und seine Werke sind in vielen öffentlichen und privaten Sammlungen vertreten, so im Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Kunsthaus Zürich, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich, Sammlung Deutsche Bank, The British Land Company, Dow Chemical und Zürcher Kantonalbank.