08 Jun Nico Krijno’s New Gestures: Fabricated to be Photographed
Sculpture Study, Figure 2
This week an exhibition of new works by Nico Krijno opens at Whatiftheworld gallery. In New Gestures: Fabricated to be Photographed, Nico dissects the photographic surface – continuing the explorations previously carried out in his self-published book Synonym Study. This time, embracing the tools of his trade, he stretches the limits even further by using Photoshop without abandon to work into each image until new and distorted perspectives emerge. The images are perplexing; physical attributes chafe against digital ones and background merges with foreground in a tangled embrace.
László Moholy-Nagy said that “The enemy of photography is the convention, the fixed rules of ‘how to do’. The salvation of photography comes from the experiment.” Looking at Nico’s work – described as a “vibrant riot of colour, objects and patterns tearing through photography’s overpopulated landscape” – it is clear that he has found this salvation. While he is concerned with bringing the age-old tradition of the still life into contemporary culture, his still lifes don’t appear to contain much stillness. Instead – his unwieldy sculptures, often created with the express purpose of being photographed – are restless, humming with an impatient energy that suggests they might topple as soon as the shutter has clicked.
The exhibition text reads as follows:
“In true contemporary form, they refuse to be bound to any one dimension, any one reality. They are schizophrenic, existing in multiple identities, both online and in print; sometimes they leap out of the frame into sculptures and installations. And yet, we are hardly sure whether they even existed in the first place. And if they did, then why? How? They are unlikely amalgamations of the debris of the everyday, patterns, splatters of paint and at times confused human bodies. They could hardly be further from the traditional still life, with its staid commitment to the real, its desire to last forever and its well-worn symbols.
But what if reality has split into two, ‘forever’ no longer exists and there is a new language in town? Then, Krijno is a still life artist in the classical sense through and through. Brazenly reshaping the genre in a world that has migrated to a new digital reality, he is a staunch formalist that continues the tradition: registering the spirit of the time, interrogating composition and refining new techniques. Working against a South African backdrop, Krijno is part of a small international wave of artists concerned with developing a new photographic language.”
Photography as we once knew it has collapsed, but in the wake of this exists a space for experimentation. In this borderless turmoil Nico is constructing his distinct photographic universe – maintaining a humourous approach that embraces the myriad of transformations the medium has endured. Now that the photographic frame is no longer a transparent window on reality, it becomes a means to rearrange it, and this is arguably more exciting. Nico’s role then is more of an inventor than an observer as he keenly hunts through his surroundings, amassing rubbish and everyday objects with which to build his fabrications. To this equation he adds paint and textures, contrasting the natural and manmade in colourful and abstract collisions. “Asserting his role as maker”, the text explains, “the processes of creation always remain present. Looking resolutely forward as well as back, Krijno’s practice is a frenetic research into how to stretch photography’s identity as far and wide as possible.”
New Gestures: Fabricated to be Photographed opens at Whatiftheworld gallery on Thursday, 11 June and closes on Saturday, 11 July.
Sculpture of Study, Bust with Clay (The Warrior)
Sculpture Study, Bust with Clay
Sculpture Study, 3 Baskets
Sculpture Study, Bust with Headpiece
Maquette with Drape
Sculpture Study, Figure 1
Sculpture Study, Wooden Blocks