ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
Jonny Niesche’s expansive exploration of painting, sculpture, and abstraction envelops the viewer in a rich sensory experience. His vibrant paintings feature seductive, iridescent surfaces that seem to hover above the voile canvas. Niesche’s longstanding focus on the interplay of color, form, and light yields optically charged works that challenge spatial perception. The transformative beauty of his paintings is accentuated by reflective gold and silver rims that invite viewers into a surprising encounter with the artwork.
Amsterdam Art Week Opening:
Friday, 19 January 2024 from 5:00 – 9:00 PM
Galerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam
Saturday, 20 January 2024 from 3:00 – 5:00
Tours: Jonny Niesche (1:00 PM), Adrian Kowanz (2:00 PM) & Tomáš Libertíny (3:00 PM)
Galerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam
For his exhibition Electric Light Orchestra, Niesche draws inspiration from nights spent in the countryside, the activity of moths around the moon, and electric lights on verandas. After his experiences and fascinations in the Australian outback, the artist began his research into moths from around the world, which influenced his palette for this show, weaving together an interplay of light and color, art and nature. All while successfully connecting with his main artistic inspiration: music, which led him to begin his career as a visual artist.
Rooted in the vibrant electronic music scene of New York City in the 1990s, Niesche’s art evolution is deeply influenced by his collaborations with musicians from that time, absorbing a variety of musical influences from the hardcore and psychedelia to the theatrical glam rock of the 1980s, reminiscent of icons like David Bowie and Deborah Harry. His work forms a unique visual language that interconnects this diverse musical heritage with his own experiences in the music scene, and a fascination for the dance of moths towards light, thus creating a visual Electric Light Orchestra.
Niesche’s art seamlessly blends music, fashion, and color. His works often feature homages to cultural icons: for example, his 2017 exhibition Cracked Actor is named after a David Bowie song, while his 2018 exhibition Throb used titles and parts of song lyrics from Iggy Pop’s album The Passenger. A standout piece, Virgil Vigil, pays tribute to the late fashion legend Virgil Abloh, cleverly blending color and style.
The artist also references Bowie’s iconic lightning bolt makeup, using it as a gradient in a triptych paravent while channeling Harry’s vibrant eye makeup into striking abstract compositions. These elements, combined with the shimmer of glam rock, seen through the use of reflective materials and glossy frames, create a mesmerizing allure in his creations.
Jonny Niesche’s connection to nature, the unique inspiration for this exhibition, fluidly mixes with music and color. In pieces like Swamp Moon Romance, he captures the mysterious allure of the Australian night sky. Utilizing a color palette of black, yellow, and white, he invokes the moon’s enigmatic, melancholic glow. He also draws from the colors of celestial phenomena like the blood moon and the hues of various moths from around the world, such as the green and pink of the Spanish Graellsia Isabellae.
To achieve a play of color and reflection while addressing a variety of themes, Niesche uses colored transparent voile fabrics, often backed by mirrors. In some works, he layers multiple fabrics without mirrors, creating a see-through effect. The artworks’ shiny gold and silver frames further reflect light, ensuring that both the viewer and the surrounding space are integral to the perception of the piece. This interaction with space in the perception of color and light is a significant concept of the 1960s Light and Space movement, championed by artists like James Turrell, Robert Irwin, and later, Brigitte Kowanz, all of whom have significantly influenced Niesche.
The scale of Niesche’s works is also crucial in defining the viewer’s experience. His expansive installations contrast sharply with his more personal, smaller pieces, each offering a unique vantage point. This variation invites the audience to explore the art from different perspectives, considering the impact of size on their engagement and interpretation.
Jonny Niesche’s Electric Light Orchestra is a compelling exhibition that seamlessly blends the overarching energy of New York’s 1990s music scene with the tranquil beauty of Australian landscapes. Central to this showcase is Niesche’s adept use of light and color, creating an immersive journey that reflects his artistic evolution. The result is a cohesive and yet diverse, visually striking set of narratives that captures the essence of Niesche’s journey in the arts. As viewers witness the pulsating colors in Niesche’s creations, it is as though they are experiencing a visual symphony, akin to the harmonious vibrations of his Electric Light Orchestra.