Interview: Nina Plášková

Interview: Nina Plášková

Interviews | December 11, 2023 |

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Image courtesy of Nina Plášková

Interview: Nina Plášková
Luca Curci talks with Nina Plášková during FUTURE LANDSCAPES, second appointment of the 19th edition of VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2024, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello

Nina Plášková consistently creates archaic, mythical and fairy-tale scenarios based on her own experiences and memories, as well as observations of her social environment. The Alpmar, daydreams, dream diaries and drawing spaces appear from the subconscious. Nina intuitively processes various materials such as bronze, natural polyurethane rubber, stone, paper, urine and coal from her own campfire into objects and humorously bizarre installations. Her large-format drawings with wood varnish and wood glaze on long strips of paper form a meditative, repetitive and rapport-like counterpoint to her fragile sculptures. A central theme in Nina’s work is the aesthetic of dark “cuteness”, which is expressed in depictions of the urgent, semi-conscious and the night mar. Facing up to (one’s own) morbidity is the corrective, the dark resonance space without which the superficial perfection of the man himself proliferates into the monstrous. The artist finds inspiration during her visits to natural history, medical history and archaeological museums and draws from the reservoirs of black romanticism. Nina extracts and expropriates historical material for personal purposes. The artist develops an independent vocabulary with which she subtly interacts with the world. The traces of the child’s self are incessantly brought to light, critically minimising and breaking through the self-optimisation mania of our time.

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Image courtesy of Nina Plášková

Luca Curci – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
Nina Plášková – I am originally from the Czech Republic but I grew up in Switzerland and I lived and studied there for a long time until I moved to Berlin 5 years ago to finish my Fine Arts studies. I studied at the HSLU Design&Kunst in Lucerne, and at the Hochschule der Künste in Bern, as well as at the weißensee kunsthochschule berlin. I come from a very classical oil painting tradition from which I have distanced myself more and more over the years to sculpture in bronze, stone and polyurethane rubbers, as well as large-format drawings with wood varnish on paper and installations. My largest work of drawing to date was 27 meters long. My art is strongly autobiographical and therefore also characterized by my constant moves and growing up in different places. The feeling of no belonging but still a strong inner connection with my homeland, the forests around my hometown Brno, the Czech and Swiss nature, animals and landscape as well as Eastern European myths, legends and stories come to light through the characters and beings of my worlds and universes. The volatility and discontinuity of my own life have thus influenced me the most so far. In the past, it was my dream world and dream diaries that influenced me the most in my choice of subject matter. Today I know that these were only catalysts to get in touch with the real issues in my inner world which are actively fighting against the self-optimisation mania of our time. The demons and the childlike self are allowed to emerge, as well as my social environment and the experiences of others are important for my work.

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Image courtesy of Nina Plášková

LC – Which subject are you working on?
NP – I consistently create archaic, mythical and fairy-tale scenarios based on my own experiences and memories, as well as observations of my social environment. The Alpmar, daydreams, dream diaries and drawing spaces appear from the subconscious. I intuitively processes various materials such as bronze, natural polyurethane rubber, stone, paper, my own urine and coal from my campfires into objects and humorously bizarre installations. My large-format drawings with wood varnish and wood glaze on long strips of paper form a meditative, repetitive and rapport-like counterpoint to my fragile sculptures. A central theme in my work is the aesthetic of dark “cuteness”, which is expressed in depictions of the urgent, semi-conscious and the night mar. Facing up to (one’s own) morbidity is the corrective, the dark resonance space without which the superficial perfection of the man himself proliferates into the monstrous. I find inspiration during my visits to natural history, medical history and archaeological museums and I draw from the reservoirs of black romanticism. I extract and expropriate historical material for personal purposes. I also always try to develop an independent vocabulary with which I subtly interact with the world. The traces of the child’s self are incessantly brought to light, critically minimizing and breaking through the self-optimization mania of our time.

LC – What issues do you intend to deal with in the future?
NP – At the moment my focus is on the further development of my characters and worlds, as well as on the conceptual animal portrait series, which is the continuation of the series „Dialogue of the potted“, which was inspired by potted and inlaid animal and human specimens from medical-history museums. In the future, more bronze sculptures and projects in public spaces are planned, as well as collaborations with Eastern European and Swiss artists. I’m also interested in using more materials like the self-produced charcoal pigments from my campfires or my own urine patina to support the autobiographical aspects of my work. For example, in the near future I will combine bronze with restored play objects from my childhood.

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Image courtesy of Nina Plášková

LC – Is there an unrealised or unrealisable project, even a crazy one, that you would like to work on?
NP – An important approach of my artistic work is that in all other areas of life there are always things that don’t seem possible or they are simply not possible. Art always gives me the belief and the necessary energy and motivation that everything is possible because everything happens according to my own rules. So far I have always made everything possible because there are no limits or regulations. Even if there are classic hurdles such as financing large projects, the playground of arts is wide enough to find a solution for everything, even if it seems impossible. The process usually leads me to unexpected solutions and I can immerse myself in fields of work, techniques, research and science that I wouldn’t normally be trained for. It’s as if you could try out all the jobs in the world. In addition, the end product is never what you imagine it to be, which means your projects always remain a surprise.

LC – What are the three hashtags essential to define your poetics that you could not give up?

  • traces of the child’s self
  • morbidity is the corrective
  • alpmar against the self-optimization mania

LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
NP –
The topic of the exhibition, Future Landscapes, inspired me because I deal with the inner emotional landscapes of my generation in my art. On the other hand, I found the visual, pictorial idea of an exhibition on this topic in the foggy, mysterious Venice, which has been sinking for many years, very stimulating. You place a highly actual theme directly in the cradle of globalization and climate change after the annual carnival in Venice and you still try to present very positive approaches and artistic positions on a sinking ship in a glossy way. Very contradictory but in a positive way, less dystopian than many current exhibitions on similar topics.

LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this event? How is it connected to the theme of the entire exhibition?
NP – The soapstone sculptures are from the series “a touch with the Thick, black fish”. They play with the abstraction of different animal characters from Eastern European myths and at the same time they remind us of flat and hilly landscapes or underwater rocks. They are inspired by the short story of The Fisherman and the Businessman by Paulo Coelho, which deals with the returning to the essentials and simplicity.

LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
NP – The platform offers a good opportunity to present and connect artists in a wild mix from all over the world and to show their works in historically interesting places and buildings outside of their cities and countries.

LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
NP – The curation, organization and opening of the exhibitions and the Art Fair are of high quality, very classic and yet clearly and precisely organized by young people. In addition, there are catalogs, interviews, videos, performances and an interesting, broad range of side events.

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Image courtesy of Nina Plášková

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