Nic Hess

1968 · Switzerland

Artist biography

Nic Hess is an established, mid-career contemporary artist, who originates from Switzerland. Nic Hess was born in 1968. Some of the artist's contemporaries that are born around the same year and in the same country include Pipilotti Rist and Ugo Rondinone.

About Nic Hess' works

Nic Hess' work is characteristic of the fields of Conceptual and Design. Emerging as an art movement in the 1960s, Conceptualism has sparked a significant amount of controversy and debate, usually provoking intense reactions in its viewership. Conceptual art by essence implies that the idea behind the actual artwork is more important than the finished product itself. The research and strategies conducted by the artist represent the most significant part of the work, conceptual art thus strives to be an art of the mind, instead of appealing to the senses. Although it refers to art from the mid 1960s to the mid 1970s, the origins of Conceptualism can be traced back to 1917, with Marcel Duchamp and his polemical artwork Fontaine, which tried to erase the boundaries between art and reality. Conceptual art is not as straightforward as other movements, as it uses an interdisciplinary approach, and the artworks can take the form of anything - from everyday objects to performances requiring audience participation.

Design, sometimes also known as applied arts, is a genre that encompasses a variety of categories such a fashion design, graphic design and industrial design. While the boundaries between art and design are blurry, some influential movements that have challenged the use of everyday life objects include The Arts and Crafts Movement and the Bauhaus, which were able to successfully unite artistic creativity and manufacturing.

Galleries and Exhibitions

Nic Hess' work is on display in two galleries, which are Grieder Contemporary in Zurich, Switzerland and Philipp von Rosen Galerie in Cologne, Germany. Nic Hess' work has most recently been exhibited at Grieder Contemporary in Zurich (05 October 2018 until 18 January 2019) with the exhibition Works from a Private Collection. Nic Hess' only other recorded exhibition on Artland is Mit und ohne Bart, which took place at Philipp von Rosen Galerie in Cologne, Germany (08 September 2018 - 03 November 2018).

Currently on Artland, eight of Nic Hess' works are available to purchase.

Historical Context of Switzerland

Perhaps the most significant Swiss contribution to the history of Modernism was the formation of the Dada movement in Zurich in 1916. Its founding members included Hugo Ball, Tristan Tzara, Jean Arp and Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Emmy Hennings, and Marcel Janco. Their headquarters, the Cabaret Voltaire, quickly metamorphosed into an prominent centre of the artistic and intellectual avant-garde, with the political neutrality Switzerland being a shelter from political instability elsewhere in Europe. Prior to that, Switzerland had originated some quirky and extraordinary artists in the Post-Impressionist span of the early twentieth century, including Ferdinand Hodler and Felix Vallotton. Another major movement that can be attributed to a Swiss artist was the ‘International Style’ of modernist architecture, pioneered by Le Corbusier. Le Corbusier might have become a French citizen in 1930, but he was born Charles-Édouard Jeanneret in the Neuchâtel canton of Switzerland in 1887. Indeed, his first independent projects were realized in his hometown of La Chaux-de-Fonds, including proto modern domestic villas for wealthy local clients. Key Swiss artists of the twentieth century include Jean Tingely, Alberto Giacometti, John Armleder, Pipilotti Rist and Thomas Hirschhorn.

Further Biographical Context for Nic Hess

Nic Hess was born in 1968 and was predominantly influenced creatively by the 1980s growing up. The 1980s were an era of developing global capitalism, political upheaval, worldwide mass media, wealth discrepancies and distinctive music and fashion, characterised by hip hop and electronic pop music. This had a strong impact on the generation of artists growing up during this time. The fall of the Berlin Wall at the end of the decade signified the end of the Cold War, yet the era was also marked by the African Famine. During this time influential art movements included Neo Geo, The Pictures Generation and Neo-Expressionism, which took a particular hold in Germany, France and Italy. Artists such as Anselm Kiefer, Jörg Immendorf, Enzo Cucchi, Francesco Clemente and Julian Schnabel were leading artists working at this time, alongside Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf, who developed the street art and graffiti movements, which quickly gained recognition.

Nic Hess

  • Exhibitions 2
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