Nina Canell Born in 1979 in Växjö, Sweden | Lives and works in Berlin


Nina Canell

Nina Canell
Foto: Robin Watkins

Nina Canell’s delicate sculptures are mise-en-scènes that layer times and history.
References to Beckett are present, as well as aspects of an amateur laboratory, joined by musical references, art and science history, sociology, and alchemy.

Canell employs gravity, entropy, and chance to shape her sculptures. She operates in the border regions of perception, using ephemeral materials like heat, electricity, gas, wood, and water as her design medium to stage invisible or inaudible phenomena. Her intent is not to create fixed objects but rather initiate a process; neon tubes bending under the influence of the force of gravity, steam describing ephemeral shapes, moisture hardening a cement block.

The work,Treetops, Hillsides and Ditches(2011), is composed of wood log with a viscous mass, nothing other than raw chicle, oozing slowly over them and down to the floor. The chicle, a compact mass perched on the top of the upright logs at the beginning of the exhibition, soon develops folds from the pull of gravity and begins flowing down, circumnavigating protruding nails; events that have not only geographic references, but also corporal and existential ones as well. The movement is so slow that it can only be perceived over intervals of time. One has to look away and then back again to see the difference.


Solo exhibitions (selection)

2012 Cubitt Gallery, London
Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin
2011 Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel
2010 MUMOK, Vienna
2009 Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen
Kunstverein Hamburg
2008 ICA, London, 2008

Group exhibitions (selection)

2012 18th Biennale of Sydney, Sydney
Intense Proximity: La Triennale, Paris
2011 Twenty– Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin
Labor(Ars Viva Prize), SALT, Istanbul
2010 On Line, MoMA, New York
Modernautställningen, Moderna Museet, Stockholm
6th Liverpool Biennial, Tate Liverpool
2009 All That is Solid Melts into Air, MuHKA, Antwerp/Mechelen