Nicky Assmann (Utrecht, 1980) utilizes light, mechanics and abstract geometry to create optical phenomena with which she examines the processes of mental and physical perception. Against the background of our visual culture, in which the experience of reality increasingly takes place in the virtual domain, she returns to the corporal fundaments of seeing. In her artistic research, she combines topical technological developments with elementary physical processes.

Optical works
The exhibition presented room-filling works. Assman’s new installation ‘Radiant’ was a dynamic ‘mobile’ sculpture in which optical patterns and colour effects appear, due to a precise balance between space, form, movement and light. The sculpture is reminiscent of the works of twentieth century artists such as Calder, Bridget Riley and Otto Piene, who developed a universalistic form language with their abstract-geometrical works, in an attempt to redefine art.

In Assmann’s 2011 cinematographic installation and graduation project ‘Solace’, an enormous film of soap liquid is elevated and lit in such a way that a turbulent choreography of light, colour and flowing movements is created, which subsequently bursts and disappears.

Experiments with physical processes
Assmann frequently experiments with the properties, behaviour and aesthetics of materials in physical processes. The preview of her film work ‘Liquid Solid’ (in collaboration with Joris Strijbos) shows the registration of the freezing of soap films in the open air at a temperature of -22°C. The work is the result of experimental research in cooperation with the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station of the University of Helsinki.

‘Aurora (Studies)’ was based on a study of the oxidation process of copper sheets. Assmann processed the material and in doing so she functions as a catalyst; gradually, almost invisibly, the colours of the sheets changed during the period of the exhibition.

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‘In the Radiant exhibition, ‘Solace’ – an iridescent soap curtain with light projections, which makes empty ‘nothingness’ into a resplendent ‘something’ – is the highlight.’ (Lucette ter Borg in NRC Handelsblad, 3 November 2015)

“I let out an ‘ooooooh’. For a moment, I saw myself reflected in two thin, vibrant, semi-transparent mirrors in which the most incredible colours coalesced.” (Jeanne Prisser in Volkskrant, 4 november 2015)

The exhibition was made possible by the Mondriaan Fund, Stimuleringsfonds, Fonds 21 and the Stokroos Foundation.