BerlinAnna Nero: Fingers in many Pies
For her first solo exhibition in the gallery titled “FINGERS IN MANY PIES” the artist ANNA NERO, born in Moscow in 1988, presents paintings and ceramics.
It is her latest oeuvre after her successful participation in the large thematic group show “JETZT! Young Painting in Germany”. This exhibition can be seen in the Deichtorhallen in Hamburg until May 17, 2020. In 2019 it was shown in the Kunstmuseum Bonn, Kunstmuseum Wiesbaden and the Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz.
As was recently announced, the Kunstfonds Bonn will support Anna Nero’s advancing career with a one-year scholarship for 2020/2021.
Anna Nero lives and works in Frankfurt am Main, she studied at the HGB in Leipzig and at the Städelschule Frankfurt.
In her paintings, Anna Nero works with different painting modes and possibilities of representation, illustration and pictorial finding. Her process usually begins with strict, geometric constructions: grids, grids, patterns, frames, shelves, a large monumental form. In the next step, rather playful and intuitive gestures and surfaces follow, which attach themselves to the underlying system or disturb and disintegrate it. The thing-like nature of the picture, either as a mimetic image or simply as a haptic object, plays a major role in her artistic work. In the run-up to the show we talked to Anna Nero in her studio in Frankfurt am Main.
Dear Anna, We congratulate you on the great attention that your paintings received during the comprehensive thematic exhibition “Jetzt! Young Painting in Germany”. After exhibitions at the Kunstmuseum Bonn, Kunstmuseum Wiesbaden and the Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz, “Jetzt! …” is currently on view at the Deichtorhallen in Hamburg (until 17 May 2020). As a young artist, what experiences do you gain from these museum appearances?
AN: Thanks! It was and still is incredibly exciting. It’s the second time that I am having the possibility to exhibit in an institutional context – and then in four museums throughout Germany. It’s an important experience to see my own work in a museum. Before that, you wonder whether the pictures live up to your own expectations in such a context. In the course of the “Jetzt!“ exhibitions, I also met many new colleagues and I enjoyed the really good group dynamic. It is a great honour to be part of this project.
We are very happy to show you with your first solo exhibition in Berlin. In “Fingers in many pies” you present a new series of paintings and sculptures. What does the exhibition title refer to? And what is the focus of your latest body of work?
AN: While working I often listen to podcasts and audio books. Sometimes I pick up fragments of sentences that later become my titles. “Fingers in many pies” refers to the fact that I make a range of different works and that I am interested in different facets of painting and ceramics. I use a variety of painting modes, materials and surfaces. For example, I combine oil and acrylic paint in all kinds of ways: I apply them in glazes, thick sausages or with a spray can. I also use markers, pens and sometimes lacquers.
I am not good with stagnation, I get bored quickly. But the new works are more open in their composition and I feel they have a stronger narrative . Then there are the ceramics I mentioned. They are completely new in my oeuvre. I started with them about a year and a half ago.
Looking back on your paintings from 2014-16, you developed your typical repertoire of forms consisting of abstract and figurative pictorial elements early on. How do you see the relationship between abstraction and figure or thing and image?
AN: I try not to use the terms ‚figurative‘ and ‚abstract‘ anymore, I don’t even think in these categories. In 2014, a year before my Diploma, I established my own way of working that I am constantly developing since then. I noticed early on that in my work individual elements become objects or subjects. They become autonomous beings. Maybe it’s because of how I place them or how they relate to each other. In any case, at some point I started to model individual strokes of color so that they took on volume and character. Ever after these things and beings have populated my pictorial space. So instead of abstracting a motif from the real world, I peel the thing out of the paint, so to speak.
By naming your paintings “Intimacy”, “Administrative Octopus” or “Peach” you allow all kinds of associations. You open a window for the viewer on the perception of the physical and the everyday. What happens when the visual perception meets the moment of the conceptual?
AN: My paintings can be seen in the context of Constructivism, Hard Egde or Pop Art. But I’m not only interested in the formal. There are also narratives and humor. This humor or “pictorial wit” becomes clearer with my titles, at least I hope so. The everyday is also important. In my work I often deal with every day experiences : annoying visits to authorities, heat, hunger, boredom, sex. When I am back in the studio, I let the outside world flow into my work. As soon as a narrative emerges, I push it further. When I come back from the citizen’s office totally annoyed and see the octopus in one of my paintings, I turn it into the “administrative octopus”.
What special role and quality do your ceramics play in this dialogue?
AN: I am very interested in objects. And I think that as a painter you have to be, because the painting is also a thing. And at the core you have to be a fetishist to be permanently involved with painting. That’s why it was completely logical for me to produce objects while I was still studying.
At that time I was very interested in hobby materials and the whole DIY (= Do It Yourself) and tutorial culture. So I started to make objects out of FIMO, an oven-hardening modelling clay for children. My professor was not interested in it, so I let it go again. Now that I am no longer a student, I feel free and encouraged to experiment. Plus in ceramics I don’t have these insanely high self-expectations. I simply make objects that I enjoy and that I find interesting. They move between knick-knacks, toys, sex toys and plants. Ceramic has this beautiful glazed surface, and there is an infinite choice of candy colors and metallic glazes. There goes my fetishist heart.
One last question: looking at your pictures, it’s like moving in a virtual cosmos, in which habitually separate things are combined in a valid level in a grassroots democratic way. Similarly, the philosophers Armen Avanessian and Sohail Malik describe the time complex of the post-contemporary. Thus our life no longer follows a linear time axis. Rather, the future happens before the past, and time comes from the future, not least because algorithms calculate our needs in advance. What time rules in your pictures? And where does it take us?
AN: As far as time is concerned, for me as a producer there is only linear time. But as soon as the image is finished, all times exist simultaneously. You can see all actions and processes simultaneously, so to speak. In my paintings, I often compress elements that seem difficult to reconcile: different surfaces, colors, and layers. Also different moods and states. There is a certain violence in doing this.
This is perhaps also the “virtual” or “digital” aspect of my pictures: all levels exist simultaneously and without hierarchy. Sometimes the individual elements really fight each other.
I think this way of dealing with layers is due to the fact that as a child I sat in front of the prehistoric Photoshop 4 and “painted”…
Courtesy of the artist and FeldbuschWiesnerRudolph, Berlin
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