About

 

Nadja Kirschgarten sees the world through an unabashedly female lens. She depicts women’s naked bodies, not as passive sexual objects, but as proud, primal, striving beings. Kirschgarten grew up looking at passive, sexualised images of women in art history books. She first encountered ideas of the female form as portrayed by canonical painters such as Manet, Cezanne and Giovanni Segantini – “male idols with their male attitude”, as she has recently described them. As a grown woman and developing artist, she began to consider these older images – and the male gaze that both produced and consumed them – with a far more critical eye. At the same time, she also became more aware of the increasingly sexualised, bordering on pornographic, ways that images of women are framed in the contemporary media.

The starkly pale women in her most recent paintings – rendered in her trademark heightened palette in a mix of romantic washes and scrawled brushstrokes – are naked and apparently marooned in male-free dysto­pias. Some of these protagonists are using their physical power to perform primeval tasks: gripping a slippery sturgeon in their bare arms in Sturgeon; determinedly dragging a blackened net from the sea, bulging with oil-coated fish in Out of Sea, or warming their bare breasts as they congregate around a wood fire in Warm Up. These women undertake their stereotypically male activities crouching, sitting with their legs askew or breasts hanging free – entirely unconcerned with the narrow standards of sexiness that contemporary women are so insidiously encouraged to exemplify, yet strangely enticing on their own terms.

Kirschgarten also paints figures that inhabit even more ambiguous scenarios, such as the seemingly startled woman looking at an unknown spectacle in Lakeside, or the fearless, suggestively open-legged figure confronting a dog in Tempting. Paintings such as Sea Life or Little Pony also have a certain magic realist edge, aligning her with contemporary film­makers and authors such as Guillermo del Toro and Carmen Maria Machado, who use fantastical tropes to convey crucial ideas about the current state of the world. Filmic and unnerving, these are paintings of nostalgia, sentimentality and longing, yet with a strong analytical and critical backbone.


Helena Haimes

(works and lives in London, writer for reviews and features of contemorary art magazines like: This is Tomorrow, Temporary Art Review, Doggerland etc.)


Biography

 
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1979    
Born in Zürich

1988    
Got her first art history book, started painting

1995    
Began using oil colors

2000    
Preparation Course for Design and Art in Zürich

2001    
Stay in England painting landscapes

2002    
Design and Fine Art
at Bern University of the Arts

2005 /07    
Birth of her two children

2010    
Master of Design and Fine Arts, at Bern University of the Arts

2010    
Studio in Stein am Rhein, Switzerland

2018   
Nominated for Manor Kunstpreis, Schaffhausen,
Switzerland.

 

Award

2016
Best Young Artist of the Year Award presented by Gamma Young Artist Competition Committee Chiar, Yonsei University Seoul (Korea)


Solo Shows

2016
What are you longing for, Haus zum Hammer/Kunstraum Kreuzlingen

2013
I’m not cool, I’m an animal
Galerie zum Kranz, Ramsen

2012
Wonderful Nature, Vebikus Kunsthalle Schaffhausen


Group Shows

2018
Pastos Famos, Tart Gallery, Zürich

2017
Gallery Reinart, Neuhausen

2016
Sockl, Vebikus Kunsthalle Schaffhausen

2016
Tempogarage, Schaffhausen

2015
Afterburner Alpineum Produzentengalerie, Luzern

2014
Museeumsnacht Schaffhausen
Salon Mülchie, Stein am Rhein

2014
No System Gastausstellung Blackbox Forum Schlossplatz/Kunstraum, Aarau

2013/2014
Side by Side, Vebikus Schaffhausen

2012
Kunst/voll Schaffhausen, Gallery Mera

2011
Contempo-Preis, Schaffhausen

2003
Project Rap, Art in Public Spaces

2000
Rathausgalerie, Konstanz (DE)


Collection

2012
Three Works of Wonderful Nature, Collector: State of Schaffhausen


Publications

2013
Nadja Kirschgarten: What Remains, Entwürfe, S. 95–106, Verlag Entwürfe, Bern


Projects

2011
Viewing, live Performance for an Organ Recital Death Dance, Wädenswil

2004
Stage Design Vitreous manege George Apergis project, Bern

2004
Stage Design, Opera Rusalka of Dvorakin, International Opera Festival, Sibiu (Romania)

2004
Stage Design Idris, 
Children-Music-Theater, Bulle

2002
Painting in the Cotswoled (GB)