India Nielsen: I'm in the Dark Right Now (Feeling Lost but I Like It)

15.04.23 – 21.05.23

In her first institutional solo exhibition, British artist India Nielsen (*1991) presents paintings she created during her residency at the International Künstlerhaus in Schwandorf-Fronberg in the fall of 2022, complemented by small format works on canvas and paper that the artist has produced since returning to London and which reflect on her time in the Upper Palatinate.

India Nielsen is a child of MTV and the internet. Growing up in London in the 1990s and 2000s, she was fascinated by musicians and rappers such as Britney Spears, Eminem, Beyoncé, and Madonna. As a result of her Catholic upbringing, the adolescent Nielsen was also introduced at an early age to otherworldly apparitions and the supernatural powers of saints in the Bible: In particular, the weeping Virgin Mary and the veneration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus made a strong impression on her and still do.

In her colorful paintings, Nielsen mixes subjective impressions of the present with memories of her childhood, which was shaped by the contemporary pop culture and her Catholic upbringing.

In the works that were created during her residency at the International Künstlerhaus in September and October 2022, the metropolitan artist also incorporated her impressions of the rural Upper Palatinate. The paintings transform Bavarian nature into an uncanny, fantastic world in which colorful hybrid creatures cause havoc, and sometimes even the dead come back to life.

For her exhibition at Kebbel-Villa, Nielsen has chosen a line from the song "Shirt" by the US R&B singer SZA as the title. In the song, SZA alludes to John 12:35 ("Those who walk in the dark don’t know where they’re going.") and addresses the tension between light and darkness, redemption, and sin in the Bible. Like Nielsen, she combines religious motives with contemporary pop culture.

India Nielsen (*1991 in London, lives in London) studied fine art at the Slade School of Fine Art in London from 2012 to 2016 and painting at the Royal College of Art from 2016 to 2018. She has been shortlisted for the 2022 British Waverton Art Prize. Her work was shown in solo exhibitions at Lazy Mike Gallery, Riga, Latvia, Darren Flook/Freehouse, London, and imlabor in Tokyo, Japan. She has also participated in numerous group exhibitions. Nielsen's works are in the Zuzāns Collection, Zuzeum Art Centre, Riga, Sof:Art, Bologna, Collezione Taurisano, Naples, and the Maureen Paley Collection, London.

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