Smart beings
March 12 –
March 29, 2019

Prešernova ulica 10A
1000 Ljubljana
Piera Ravnikar

Teja Kosi
            Benjamin Nachtingall is an artist who draws, paints and creates sculptural installations. When still in his teens, he began to channel his artistic inclinations into creating delicate clay sculptures. These are now created simultaneously and thus influence one another. He often places them next to paintings and drawings, but is most inspired by the infinitely revealing possibilities of shaping with clay.

            The sculptural installation ‘Smart Beings’ places the visitor in the middle of a mesh frame, occupied by clay glazed beings that sit, lean and hang on it. The artist says these represent outsiders whom he doesn’t wish to limit with a strict narration. Instead of wrinkled, worried faces, beaming smiles or expressions of boredom, the figures are embellished with parts of plants and fruit – lemons, watermelons, artichokes, and the likes. Depersonalised faces don’t express character, which is why they offer us an alternative interpretation. Despite being placed in such close physical vicinity, these unique nomads are in fact distant from one another. The interaction between them is replaced by smartphones which they’re always holding and which hint at being their only means of communication. In spite of their deep alienation, out-rootedness and enclosure, the fragile figures cry into uneasy hopelessness with their unique attractiveness and charm. The aerial translucent installation reflects the headlong chasing after extreme individualism and getting trapped in the smallest of worlds and frames of identity. The stiff bodies in various poses, thrown into this atypical environment, humorously and challengingly question smartphones, smart houses and smart cities, and on the other hand, the emerging void that can be filled by the common and interconnecting.

           The Austrian artist Benjamin Nachtigall (1988) graduated from graphic arts at the University of Applied Arts Vienna in 2015 under prof. Jan Svenungsson. While at the beginning of his studies he focused on drawing and painting, he eventually began to return to working with clay and the sculptures he used to make as a youngster. His recent works represent natural size installations which combine a wooden structure and ceramic sculptures that offer the viewer an interactive experience. He has exhibited in many galleries, including in Vienna’s Gans, Loft 8, Wittegensteinhaus and Galerie Gerersdorfer and held an independent exhibition at the Viennese museum MUSA. The city of Vienna has purchased a collection of his works, while many others can be found in private collections. He is the winner of the Ö1 Talentebörse Award. He lives and works in Vienna and the state of Styria.