Nina Schipoff is a german interdisciplinary artist, based in Geneva, Switzerland.
She graduated from the Geneva University of Art and Design( HEAD) in 2008 and obtained a postgraduate diploma in painting from the Geneva School of Stage Set Design in 2009.
Her artworks investigate the concepts of space, time, and movement. Schipoff questions the invisible and visible traces of the interaction between man and landscape and their ecological and geo-political impact in an accelerating world. Her narrations recount the fragments of a disappearing untamed paradise, like frozen memories of the complex equilibrium in the evolution of life. Schipoff has been presenting her artworks in numerous exhibitions in Europe, the US, Asia, India, Africa, and the Middle East. Her work is part of the collection of the Bangkok National Gallery and many other public and private collections.
INFINITY IS AN ILLUSION
As modern technologies have been speeding up human life we are passing more and more tipping points inducing an acceleration of the ecological feedback loop we are living in.
Humans and many other living creatures on earth need freshwater to survive. Around 2.5% of Earth’s water is freshwater. Around 68 % of this freshwater is locked up in ice, basically in Greenland and the Antarctic ice sheets.
Due to global warming, the Greenland ice sheet is melting at a highly accelerated pace, mixing with seawater as well as releasing carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere, causing more warming.
More than 90% of this heat, trapped in the atmosphere is absorbed into the oceans. heating up their surfaces, leading to its deoxygenation and its acidification, highly affecting marine species and the whole ecosystem Furthermore sea level is rising exposing millions of people to coastal flooding.
Fossil fuel, deforestation, and agriculture are the main causes of higher greenhouse gas emissions causing this global temperature rise.
Higher temperatures lead to increasing water evaporation, drying out soils and vegetation, causing droughts, crop loss, wildfires, and generating more CO2 emissions.
Greenhouse gas emissions trigger an intensification of extreme weather patterns, setting off even more natural disasters.
Although nature is in an inevitable state of transformation, a continuum of creation and destruction, human interactions have dangerously amplified and accelerated these phenomena on our planet and threaten the very sustainability of humanity.
In her two photographs of the series danse macabre Nina Schipoff confronts us with the impressive phenomena of our ecological reality, the melting glacier, its wall crumbling into the sea eating away reality, but also the human effort, revealed by the tortured folds of the fabrics desperately trying to protect the glacial corpses of
the diminishing Rhône glacier against global warming and its own final disappearance.
Nina’s images document the complexity of the tragedy of human activities; there is today the strong belief in science and technology to understand and dominate nature on man’s pursuit for human immortality. But in fact, he must assume heavy responsibility for the amplification of major natural alterations endangering this very survival of all species, including humanity.
Schipoff’s artworks cross scientific culture in order to discover positive and negative hidden relations in the ecological complexity in the Anthropocene age. In a world deprived of gods, this tragedy is a great lesson of the romanticism of cataclysms.
Hello Nina! In your video “danse macabre” you say that the next virus is waiting in the permafrost for its resuscitation. How important is the artist’s contribution to bringing awareness to this issue? And tell me more about your trip to the Norwegian archipelago, did it inspire some of your other works?
Nina: Hi Lisa, thank you for inviting me to the interview. My art is pointing out and confronting the spectator with the massive disintegration of glacier ice processing into water. As an artist, I am liberating positive and negative (re)actions to this event, creating serious doubts about the stability of climate i.e. and
the planet i.g.
What do you enjoy most by taking a photo or a video? What is the biggest challenge for taking a photo?
Nina: A photo or a video is first of all a trace of light on a surface, pretending to talk about reality. It petrifies time and structures it in the past present and future. The story it tells is constructed by the inside and the outside of the frame. Through my photography and video art, I recount the world infinitely big, its splendid beauty, and its uncompromising force, form, and movement. It is a highly emotionally engaged process to me of creating significations by touching different senses of myself as well as the spectator.
Did you first take a photo and video and do painting later? Do you have a favorite photograph or painting, which inspires you?
Nina: It depends on the setting. In some circumstances, my photos are self-sufficient and contain everything I have to say And the sublime and terrifying beauty of the world around us. So photography may impact you like thunder, but painting is like falling in love at first sight, it touches the deepest center of the
inherent humanity in us.
How do you keep your ideas fresh?
Nina: I am in kind of a permanent process of work, I function as a sponge: even when I do not work I am being worked.
What is a day of working like in your studio? Do you have any rituals that help you get motivated or in “the zone”?
Nina: I am lucky and have a studio in an artist-run factory, a very nurturing environment. I love my studio! Before accessing my ‘bubble’, I cook a tea, put on the right music, for the moment it’s either Philip Glass: ‘’Spiegel im Spiegel,’’ or the ‘’Köln concert’’ by Keith Jarret, or Yo-Yo Ma playing Bach’s cello suites. It is very important for me to dive into my work, to take quite some time just for contemplating the painting(s) I am working on. Sometimes I only do that.
You’ve had numerous exhibitions all around the globe. If you could choose your favorite, which would it be?
Nina: I am deeply attached to painting. That’s why one of my preferred exhibits was ‘Utopie Picturale 1’ in 2013, Villa Dutoit, Geneva, curated by Eric Winarto.
Your work is obviously focused on ecological and geopolitical impact. Is there a message you are trying to send with each piece?
Nina: I want to give sense to what we often consider as ‘’for granted’’, rock our truths and certitudes in nature’s recurring and now accelerated the process of renewal.
Could you walk us through your process of painting? How much planning do you do before you jump into creating an artwork? If you do, what are you trying to solve at each stage of it?
Nina: I work in series to give myself time and the tools to implore my research field. There is some planning before I start a new painting as well as room for accidents to be integrated. Once I have started with
the first paint stroke on the canvas it is kind of a ping pong match between the painting and me: paint-stroke, stepping back, observing, listening to the (answer of the) painting, paint-stroke……. I am working on the painting and the painting is working on me.
What is the work you’ve done that you’re the most excited about?
Nina: It’s a little boy’s face. I did it on a rainy Saturday morning with my fingers, when still in art school. Nobody was there, only me, my paint, some wooden planks, and full volume music. I had done a terrible job that whole morning, all my attempts more than frustrating. And so I just gave a damn and let go, forgot me and everything around me, was completely absorbed. It took me only a couple of minutes.
Do you see your art as serving a purpose beyond art?
Nina: To me, art is the creation of emotions And/With signification. It is a kind of spiritual magnifying glass, pointing at something and giving meaning.
What are you currently working on, and what’s next for you?
Nina: At present, I am preparing a solo-exhibit at the gallery Kaminska/ Stocker in Yverdon in mid-April, where I will show paintings and photography. In June I have an artist residence in Iceland, which I am very excited about. I wish to challenge my working habits and comfort zone and develop an on-site sound/ video project.