Nici Jost: From West to East to Space / Artstübli, Basel / Interview

Nici Jost’s artistic focus revolves around the color pink, delving into its characteristics, history, and multifaceted roles in psychology, art, literature, and politics. Her work not only explores pink as a controversial element but also as a socio-political lens that provokes discourse. Curated by Isabel Balzer, the exhibition “From West to East to Space” showcases Jost’s exploration of cultural identity and social space through pink. It spans her development from critiquing Western ideals to engaging with Chinese culture and culminates in the GJ 504b project, delving into the intersection of art, science, and technology. Through workshops, talks, and screenings, Jost invites viewers to contemplate the complex significance of pink beyond conventional perceptions. In this video, the artist guides you through her exhibition.

Nici Jost: From West to East to Space. Solo exhibition at Artstübli, Basel. Basel (Switzerland), April 28, 2024.

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Press text (excerpt):

Nici Jost’s artistic practice is dedicated to the colour pink; its characteristic features, history and its role in psychology, art, poetry, literature and politics. However, she not only works with pink as a controversial and divisive element of social and cultural associations; for the artist, pink is a socio-political lens that is able to polarise like no other colour in the spectrum.

“From West to East to Space” is an exhibition about artistic experimentation and futuristic visions, curated by Isabel Balzer. A visual excursion is created through Jost’s artistic exploration of cultural identity and social space in the context of the colour pink. The exhibition covers stages of her artistic development from Western influences to Far Eastern cultures to “cosmic foresight”.

The exhibition begins with Jost’s exploration of pink in Western culture. On display is a series of works that criticise and celebrate Western ideas that have shaped global aesthetics and thinking. In the first part, she examines pink not only as a colour, but also as a socio-political statement. In doing so, she looks at the relationship to gender, art, modernity and commercialisation in Western societies. The “Recycling Art – Pretty in Pink” project, among others, was selected for the exhibition. The works invite viewers to gain a nuanced understanding of colour psychology and symbolism, challenge preconceptions and show the versatility of the colour pink.

A seamless transition leads to a staging of Jost’s time as artist-in-residence at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai. In Chinese visual culture, the colour pink is used in a different, culturally specific way. It reflects the bustling life of the city and its cultural diversity. The artist goes beyond the purely visual, creating a sensual dialogue with Chinese aesthetics and philosophy.

The third part of the exhibition takes us into the cosmic sphere with the GJ 504b project. This project explores the interface between art, science and technology and was developed in collaboration with Nadine Friedel. The GJ 504b Project explores the role of artificial intelligence as a collaborator in the creative process. The project was inspired by a pink-coloured exoplanet 57 light years away, similar to Jupiter. Scientific support was provided by Ben Moore, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Zurich. The newly created colour “GJ504b Pink” stands for the infinite possibilities and unexplored areas of space and artistic innovation. Viewers are invited to reflect on the future of life, the perception of colours and their complexity beyond Earth.

The exhibition will be accompanied by workshops for school classes and visitors. Talks and screenings on these topics will be held in collaboration with the artist Philipp Gasser (Professor Emeritus, Digital Media, Institute Art Gender Nature (Technology), Basel (HGK FHNW) and the artists on the subject of AI art with Midjourney.

Nici Jost is a conceptual and multimedia artist known for her vigorous and critical exploration of the colour pink, using it as a lens to explore and challenge social constructs throughout her body of work. After working as an assistant to Pipilotti Rist for over a year, she received a Master of Fine Arts from the Institute Art Gender Nature HGK FHNW in Basel. Her practice spans photography, video and immersive installations. Jost’s body of work has been recognized by numerous awards, including the Alexander Clavel Foundation’s Cultural Prize and a grant from the Aargauer Kuratorium in 2015. In 2018, she was an artist in residence at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai for six months. Her first comprehensive publication «Instinctive Desire» was published by edition fink in 2019. It appears as volume 8 of the Primeur series issued by the Aargauer Kuratorium. Her work has been widely exhibited in Switzerland and abroad, and her photographs and installations are included in private and public collections worldwide.

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