"Scientists, psychologists, surgeons ... in the end we're all driven by a similar curiosity."
This month has been a whirlwind in New York for an Austrian street artist/fine artist/illustrator named Nychos, and he's made quite the iconic impression. Anchored by a show that opened last weekend of canvasses and illustrations at Jonathan Levine Gallery in Chelsea named "IKON," and assisted by a co-branded sculptural event with the Vienna Tourist Board, the surreal dissectionist didn't rest there.
In the weeks leading up to and after these events he also managed to hit a number of walls in Coney Island, Bushwick, and Jersey City. Oh, and he knocked out a box truck as well.
In addition to pulling out an astounding sculpture of Sigmund Freud looming over a couch that drew a crowd to the foot of the (also iconic) Flatiron Building at 23rd and 6th in Manhattan, the afterparty and reception featured Dominic Freud, the great grandson of the founder of psychoanalysis, who surmised that if he were alive today he would definitely have wanted to put Nychos on his couch.
Indeed you may wonder about the mind of this sharp-knifed artist who has decided to diverge from the realm of slicing open animals and fantastic creatures to taking apart cultural and pop-cultural icons for his fascinating painted science experiments.
With a free hand on the can and rarely a sketch, and an athletic kineticism that verges on dance, this artist is fully in his zone, at times delivering what one important art world figure described to us as a "virtuoso" performance, even when he's de-boning Ronald McDonald. Among his new subjects on walls and canvas are included such recognizable figures as Batman, Darth Vader, Mickey Mouse, Elvis, Marilyn, Motörhead's Lemmy, and the Statue of Liberty.
Yes, it is grotesque, and yes, some of these subjects were actual people. Additionally, there is a comical dark side in it's glossy finish and stylized splash, with perhaps a greater critique of consumerist entertainment culture and more than a touch of sadism. This is the pretty gore that is familiar to an un-shockable generation raised by vampires. You know who you are.
We asked the celebritic internist to talk about his work and his prodigious program across NYC and he gave us an inside look at the heart and mind of Nychos.
Brooklyn Street Art: You like to open things up and look inside. Would you consider yourself more of a scientist or psychologist?
Nychos: I consider myself an artist. But yeah, the question is justified. Scientists, psychologists, surgeons ... in the end we're all driven by a similar curiosity.
Usually you depict primarily factual arrangements of organs and systems - but you also include a huge amount of movement and activity and emotion! How do you feel? How does a viewer feel?
People who see me paint often tell me that it's like watching an entire performance, so you could say the movement is not only in the piece or only me, it's a synergy of both. I feel like the viewer can recognize these (e)motions in the finished piece as well.
Is this work intellectual or emotional? Or both?
Both. In my eyes, a creative process always includes intellectual and emotional content. Both aspects are fuelling each other. At least that's what I see in my work.
We associate your work with the animal kingdom, but you are slicing Sigmund Freud open here in New York - What will we all be studying?
I'd suggest you tell me afterwards. I can only say that "Dissection of Sigmund Freud" and my exhibition "IKON" at Jonathan Levine Gallery are a good way to announce that I'm going to set a focus on human anatomy in the future.
Does Ronald McDonald actually eat his own food or is mostly whole grains and salads and fresh wheat-grass juice.
Good question. I'm gonna ask him when I see him next time.
OneTeas, Ron English and Banksy have all bashed McDonald's a number of times with their work - why is that brand so hateable?
Well, I'd say McDonald's is just the embodiment of all these fast food chains, so the criticism does not only refer to this specific brand, but to all of them. McDonald's just made a damn good job with burning this weird clown into our brains and with it the bitter taste of today's dining culture.
Nychos IKON is currently on view at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery in Manhattan. Click HERE for more details.
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