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Nic Hess
Der Moment

2014

$11,000

About

Nic Hess (*1968 in Zurich, where he also lives and works) studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and at the University of the Arts, Berlin. He got mainly known for his expansive installations and wall collages made of tapes and foils. With these, he deconstructed signs (logos) and symbols from the worlds of business and art history. “Der Moment” is a work for which he transferred his earlier ideas of playing with and deconstructing logos and symbols to a framed piece. It is showing exactly the moment (“Der moment”) in which the iconic lumberjack from the painting by Ferdinand Hodler, who is known to more or less every Swiss grown-up person due to the fact that he has been shown on the SFR 50-banknote for 67 years, is reaching out with his ax to the highest point in order to hit down with the utmost force against the tree to be cut down. Rarely has there been a stronger symbol in a painting for a nation’s strength. However, instead of reinforcing this symbolic value, Nic Hess plays with it. He prolongs the vertical line of the ax and connects it to a dolphin, a dolphin that seems to swing in the center of the collage. The lumberjack is positioned on a rather unstable ground that is extended, on the left side, into a penguin. And the penguin’s beak is connected to the tip of the Hokusai-wave (this being an artwork often cited in Hess’ œuvre). Below the penguin we see René Magritte’s famous pipe, as a counterweight to the penguin and it’s energy that is pointing upwards. On the right side of the image, we see a Playboy-bunny siting on top of a Swiss-autobahn-sign that is prolonging an architecture (probably Venice) that has been turned to the left by 90°. The lower right corner is dedicated to the KFC-face of Colonel Sanders, the founder of the company. There are more details to recognize and interpret, theoretically. However, it is not Nic Hess’ intention to animate us to an interpretation of an allegedly readable narration. On the contrary: he is deconstructing the idea of such a total understanding. And the symbols and signs, logos, and well-known artworks, that we do or do not recognize, are rather reduced to their esthetic value: an energy pointing up or down, a weight to be set, a dynamic line defining a pictorial space etc. We can either just enjoy the fun of deciphering (and not understanding) such a composition. We can also – on the other side – understand this playing around with signs and symbols as a criticism of the inundation with signs that we are experiencing in our everyday life. Technically, Hess has executed this work with overhead transparencies. These are directly collaged on the surface of a white cardboard. He is used to this material, because he is employing it in his large-scale installations, in order to create – with the help of projections – the forms that are taped down on the walls. Hess' had this collage of overhead transparencies framed in a bi-color frame. By doing so, we experience rather an object than just an image. Hess looks back to a long career and to a very large number of institutional solo-shows of which here just a few are mentioned: Zulieferer unter Druck, Städtische Galerie, Wolfsburg (2016); Der Stoff aus dem die Träume waren, Kunsthalle Münster, Münster (2015); Ein Titel muss her!, Kunststation Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg (2013); The Birds (for Lilou), Swiss Institute, New York (2012); Silberpfeil, Mercedes Benz Museum, Stuttgart (2011); Automatic Crash Response, Armand Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2009); Escape, Schloß Ringenberg, Hamminkeln (2009); Sculptures, The Project, New York (2008); Food4Less, Museo de Zapopan, Zapopan (2007); Walls/Muri (with Federico Herrero), Fondazione Bevilacqua, Venice (2006); Rice-Fields and Bushes, Casa del Lago, Mexico City (2006); Icons will survive / Wände haben Ohren, Media Center of the Swiss Govern¬ment, Bern (2006); Guten Morgen Deutschland, Haus der Kunst, Munich (2004); Logo (with Francis Baudevin and Mathieu Mercier), Swiss Institute, New York (2004); Berlin – New York (with Emmanuelle Antille), Kunsthaus Baselland, Muttenz (2003); To the MANOR born, Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Winterthur (2002); Ola de Cola, OPA (Officina de Proyectos de Arte), Guadelajara (2002); Dolly II, Kunstwerke, Berlin (2000); Swinging Swindle, Queens Museum of Art, New York (2000); Together Now, The Drawing Center, New York (2000); Transit 21 – Projekt Durchbruch (Kompromiss nach Eiland) (with Kerim Seiler), Kunsthalle St. Gallen, St. Gallen (1999). His works (and installations) have been acquired by numerous institutional and important private collections: Amt für Arbeit und Wirtschaft des Kantons Zürich, Zurich; Bank Julius Bär Collection, Zurich; Bundeskunstsammlung der schweizerischen Eidgenossenschaft, Bern; Bundesmedienhaus, Bern; Collection Deutsche Bank, Frankfurt; Credit Suisse Collection; Daimler Art Collection, Berlin / Stuttgart; Dow Chemical, Zurich; Ernst & Young, Zurich; Fundación Colección JUMEX, Mexico City; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Kantonalbank Zürich, Zurich; Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich; Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, St. Gallen; Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Stuttgart; Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich; Montblanc Kulturstiftung, Hamburg; Museo de Zapopan, Guadalajara; Swiss National Bank Art Collection, Zurich; Swiss RE, Zurich; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.

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