Whoever stares into the centre of this glowing white painting the longest will end up scorching their way right through the wooden slats of the reclining chair. This small, pictorial joke from the first really comprehensive, monographic publication to date illustrating the entirety of Nils Nova’s work has the effect of an appetizer and effectively draws the viewer more deeply into the work. As was the case in 2009 when invited to take part in Venice Biennale, Nils Nova first photographed the length of the empty exhibition space in the Artiglieri dell’ Arsenale in a reverse shot and placed the opposite, frontally photographed far end as a photographic installation in the same photographed space.
In his outstanding and insightful essay, Max Wechsler comments that it is not just the imposing dimensions that disarm one’s imagination when the real space, in its extreme boundlessness, begins to throw one’s standpoint and viewing perspective out of kilter by means of the photographic montage of »mirror images«, but a certain boundlessness, a teetering experience of appearance and reality is perpetuated when all of a sudden a real picture is hanging on the white wall of the photographed space which conveys the impression of being almost free-floating in space against the photographic background. In addition, the painted picture with its polished steel ground seems like a real mirror at the centre of the composition. Viewers see themselves complete with their surroundings projected into the picture and so become a random component of their own perception, which is itself almost at the point of despair on account of the various teetering planes.
Using photography, painting, video and found footage, Nils Nova is an artist who, with a degree of scepticism, stages the tendency towards enchantment and mystification inherent in the very substance of his multifarious material. And so it is hardly surprising that simulacra and parallel worlds come into play and that one doesn’t necessarily ponder Peter Schlemihl’s shadow or general selling of souls to be overcome by a slightly giddy feeling.
Photoforum PasquArt, Biel/Bienne, 19/06–21/08/2011
Kunstverein Heilbronn, 24/3–6/5/2012