Jonny Niesche ‘SPLITTING IMAGE’ at Zeller van Almsick
Jonny Niesche‘s first gallery solo exhibition in Austria at Zeller van Almsick. With the exhibition “Splitting Image” the gallery welcomes the Australian artist and is delighted to announce the future representation of Jonny Niesche in Austria. At first, Jonny Niesche’s new Vienna-inspired works present themselves as feast of the senses: luminous interlacing colors, gold-mirrored frames and iridescent light reflections. Only after moving around them the artwork is being transformed. If one glances at the fabric at a steep angle the surface transfigures into a velvety, matte color, while it changes to a colored mirror in frontal view. It is the space, just as the viewer, that communicates with and through the work – similar to architecture, which can only be experienced by the user: a perpetual state of becoming or transformation. Niesche’s show draws inspiration from Vienna’s historical character. Colors and styles, imperial opulence or kitsch, beautiful and abominable color combinations, or the numerous golden ornaments on urban sculptures, that can be interpreted as an obsession with gold and ornamentation. In the central work “Mutual Vibration” Jonny Niesche reflects on the encounter with Johann Strauss, more precisely the monument built in 1921 located at Stadtpark – a saturated golden virtuoso playing the violin in front of an archway. Originally the image of the “Walzerkönig” was to be erected at the FranzJosefs-Kai. The joyful ease, the impressive gold and the symmetrical arrangement of the ensemble can be found in Niesche’s work, and from time to time “Mutual Vibration” revolves around its axis, the golden mirror and the luminous color acting as a dance partner. Similarly, “Mutual Vibration” is a dialogue with the Zero artists Heinz Mack and Otto Piene, who play an important role in Niesche’s work. Especially their interest in light, kinetic, space and the continuous vibration of light and color in conjunction with the viewer. The title “Mutual Vibration” is a reference to Piene, the “total vibration” as the “energy of the light that emanates from the field of the painting and is mysteriously transformed into the life energy of the beholder”. Piene adds: “The purity of the light that creates pure color, which in turn is the expression of the purity of light, captures the whole human being with its continuous flooding, where the rhythmic reciprocation between image and viewer, under certain formal conditions, becomes the compulsive pulse beat, total vibration. […]. “Mutual vibration creates a ever changing situation between space, work and the viewer. The rhythms arise in the rotation of the image when the viewer alternately confronts him/herself with the impressive force of the color. The combination of mirror and voile painting, which is found in all the works of the exhibition, is different in the “Cosmic Plates”: in contrast to “Mutual Vibration”, the mirror is much more reflective and thus “performative”. For Niesche it was an anecdote by Bruce Naumann, who talked about the experience of looking at a shop window from a “desirable situation” – when one looks at an object that one desires, and at some point one grasps one’s own reflection. This dialogue was the starting point for Niesche’s interest in capturing an image between the viewer and his own reflection. The fabric ‘Voile’ is a transparent fabric, a screen, a skin, a membrane. The viewer sees hie/her image in the “Cosmic Plates”: a gravitationally mesmerizing version of herself.