The essential element of Nici Jost’s work is the exploration of the sublime tensions between technology and nature, space and perception, identity and image. She challenges the passive “consumption” of art in a crowded environment and provokes questions about the broader, often disquieting, implications of our ever-accelerating technological evolution and the position of the individual within. Jost pushes the boundaries between reality, fantasy and fiction, making the viewer re-evaluate his/her natural and conceptual reference models as the audience enters imaginary, yet surprisingly real worlds with intense colors and surreal perspectives. The collaboration of artist and viewers is essential. The mobilization of our senses to attune us to questions of space and place and the meaning of time is the center of her undertakings.
In photographs and installations, commonly found, yet rarely acknowledged objects, vistas and scenes are transformed. By projecting a different, often distorted or reversed perspective, the viewer is forced to enter a totally new world of colors, shapes and tales. Jost’s images freely traverse the myriad paths of human expression, desires, dreams and wishes in physical manifestations. Her interests navigate freely between memories, childhood experiences, story telling and the transformation of the self. Most often, these excursions into the human mind, social and cultural interactions manifest themselves in her photographs. In 2014, Jost started to address issues of human interaction, cultural and social relationships through experimentation with physical space. Waitingroom for Wonderland” (2014/16), an installation cum photograph positions itself in the center of her current oeuvre. Here, a pink-colored model and photograph of a prison cell alludes to issues such as aggression, femininity, color psychology and human conditioning.
The color pink remains omnipresent in Jost’s work. It is one of the few colors in the spectrum that establishes a certain emotional and aesthetic condition which is dealt with by each viewer in different ways. Jost does not only work with pink as controversial element of social and cultural associations, she also plays with the physical and mental reaction of her audience. It is mainly “cool down pink”, which has already been appearing in Jost’s work since 2009. The scientific research and analysis of colors has revealed that this particular pink shade provokes complex (usually strongly sedative and calming) effects upon the human psyche.
There is no color other in the color spectrum other than pink that produces such differentiated associations in the viewer. It is fraught with many prejudices and associations. Above all, in adult world, pink has mainly negative and highly controversial connotations. On the one hand it is considered a girl’s or baby color, but pink is historically also the color for the royal offspring (called the “little magenta”). Due to the Nazi stigmatization of pink, the color received a negative “gay” connotation in today’s male society. Paradoxically, pink is now used as a group marker for homosexuals. In her work, Nici Jost takes full advantage of this ideological spectrum.
Many artists and curators have been capitalizing on this “pink trend”. While the use of pink in art was always belittled and considered kitsch, something that Nici Jost has experienced throughout her life and artistic career, this recent trend has made pink into a lifestyle, disregarding its political and deeply personal dimensions. Balzer Projects is pleased work with Nici Jost to presents her complex, research-based exploration of the color, while at the same time critiquing and questioning this “pink trend”.
Nici Jost graduated with an MFA from the FHNW/HGK (Basel) in 2016. In 2015, she received the “Werkbeitrag” (project award) of the Kuratorium Kanton Aargau and was awarded a substantial book grant (2017) to publish her first comprehensive catalogue. She received the prestigious Swatch Art Peace Hotel Residency in Shanghai, which she will begin in February 2018. Her work has been shown widely in Switzerland and abroad, as well as having her photographs and installations incorporated in prestigious private and public collections in Switzerland, Germany, United States, Mexico and Belgium.
Nici Jost about the Pink Color System: “In the year 2000 I started collecting Pink, motivated by a personal attraction to the colour. Later, during my art studies, I began to realize and experience the emotional potential of this colour. It could irritate people, make them feel very emotional and affected them in ways that I had never imagined possible. I began to study the nature of pink in more depth. More than ten years later, the colour is not only omnipresent in my work, but it has also become an intricate part of my life.
The „Pink Colour System“ is an attempt to systematically organize and categorize the colour. It not only emphasizes different hues and shades of Pink but also their historical, political and social meanings and the psychological effects it has on people and the reactions it provokes. I have categorized and named different and distinct shades of Pink according to my own system. This system includes political, social, historical and cultural elements and influences. By nature, Pink is very complex and controversial. It varies between delicate, tender, youthful, beautiful, sweet and natural to artificial, disturbing, disrespectful and offensive. By analyzing the nature of Pink, its distinctive characteristics, its history and the effect the colour has in psychology, poetry, literature; The idea of the “Pink Colour System” is to name and categorize, but also to distinguish the meaning and essence of ten pink shades.”