The visual work of this internationally acclaimed artist has recently been characterised by a contemporary analysis of the possibilities offered by the trompe-L’oeil, the trick-of-the-eye technique that seemingly distorts reality. From 1997 to 2001, Nova studied fine arts at the Lucerne University of Art and Design. His work has been displayed at the Venice Art Biennale (2009) and the 14th International Architecture Biennale in Venice (2014), where he worked with Martino Stierli (MoMA’s Chief Curator of Architecture and Design) and Hilar Stadler (Las Vegas Studio).
A salient feature of the works Nils Nova has made in recent years is their reliance on the space in which they are presented, where they hover between illusion and reality. Specifically, Nova relates his installations to the real rooms of the exhibition venue, transforming and re-articulating them on-site. He starts by analysing and deconstructing the respective situation, going through it in his mind and trying out a series of spatial and visual variations. The spatial images or imagined spaces that he comes up with are then converted into constructive ideas that he projects back onto the original space. The medium he has chosen to give shape to his ideas is photography. Nova takes pictures of a room from thoughtfully chosen angles and prints them as wallpaper pictures that he mounts elsewhere in the same room or in a neighbouring room. Views of the photographed room are displaced, twisted and multiplied through juxtapositions and mirroring so that perception of the original room is confounded to varying degrees. By using a contemporary medium to create a tromp-l’oeuil effect within a real space, the artist produces a real virtual space – space and the illusion of space are paradoxically interwoven.