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Art in Monochrome: An Interview with Nicolas Feldmeyer


At once organic and methodical, premeditated and unruly, the work of London-based artist Nicolas Feldmeyer is the perfect combination of structure in chaos, a manipulation of the static. Predominately working within the confines of geometric monochrome, Feldmeyer manages to create new textures and miniature topographies—a concept literally explored in his recent work, “Even After All,” which gives the illusion of trapping mountains in a box. It’s truly remarkable work.

More impressive still is Feldmeyer’s proposal for "Albion," a massive piece of Land Art anchored and floating on the sea off of the sharp, pale cliffs of Dover. Made out of connected shipping containers, the structure would mimic the undulation of the sea waves with Feldmeyer’s characteristic angularity. And this is what he does so well: taking reality and reshaping it, thrusting it into the prism of the abstract.

Feldmeyer’s work is imbued with a clinical surrealism, a sense that you are falling down a very well formed rabbit hole: Potholes in oceans (“Breaking Point”), fabric-wrapped buildings (“Woven Portico”), a singular wayward fence pole (“Reckless”). There is always something a little bit left of center, a detail that catapults a piece from the jurisdiction of normal and right up to the gates of strange.  

ISAORA got the chance to talk to Feldmeyer about his affinity for monochrome, his hopes for "Albion", and his great respect for the work of photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto.

"Even After All"

Can you tell me about the idea behind your "Even After All" series and how you made the works?

This works echoes another one made two years ago called "After All." It was also made with 3D computer software. I guess both are inspired by romantic images of awe-inspiring nature, as well as maybe monumental Land Art and [Hiroshi] Sugimoto’s photographs, amongst others. In the first version, a rectangular slice of light was inserted in a landscape. In the second version we actually stand inside a gigantic room and look out.

What is it about Sugimoto's work that you most admire?

Their beauty is inspiring--of course it's always impossible to describe in words. There is this feeling of timelessness (in the cinema or seascapes). There is some sense of vastness and simplicity. His ideas for the work seem simple yet profound. It is like paying attention to things that have always been there (the sea, electric lighting, mathematical shapes, etc) but without making them into generalizations. 

"Frozen Syllables"

You don’t do much with color, if anything. Can you explain the personal appeal of black and white?

I’m not sure. I guess there is something about reduction to only what is fundamental to the work. I have done a video with colour for example, but then it was really about colour.

"Whispered Messages"

Artists whose work you admire?

Agnes Martin, Caspar David Friedrich, James Turrell, Sugimoto, amongst others.

"Quiet Energy Field"

The concept of energy comes up quite a bit in your work and there is definite a literal element of connectivity in the work itself. Any particular belief behind that?

Maybe not a belief, but an impression that my thinking is very limited, and that there is much more to things and between them than I can understand.


Do you have one particular project you've been dreaming to do? 

"Albion" is a proposal for a monumental installation. It hasn’t been realised (yet). It came quite naturally out of a series of pastel drawings I was working on, with fields of rectangles, rigid in structure but animated by tiny variations. In "Albion," the containers would move with the waves, breaking and modulating the regularity of the pattern. Also with the receding tide the containers would come to rest on the ground, to be picked up again by the incoming tide.