22 March - 22 April 2017

Nico Krijno

The Fluid Right Edge


22 March – 22 April

Nico Krijno grew up in the small town of Somerset East in South Africa, nestled at the foot of the Boschberg Mountains. He attended art school in Pretoria before moving to Cape Town aged nineteen. He has described his home country as ‘magical’, stating ‘South Africa, as a site of creativity, brings a unique surface, texture and frequency, and a specific raw and violent beauty, to the production of aesthetic images.’ The undulating and oscillating colourful surfaces of Krijno’s photographs seem to spill directly from the unique energy of their creator’s homeland.


With his sights originally set on film directing, Krijno studied film making during his first years in Cape Town. His complimentary photographic practice absorbed the intuitive and exploratory methods he honed as a filmmaker. His works primarily deal with process and the relationship between photography and performance. His time spent working in the film and theatre industries gave him a physical understanding of movement and balance. His latest works reference stage set-design and intricate theatrical illusions. They are playful and sharp, characterised by their interplay of contrasting images and textures, of volume and form.


Krijno has successfully established an exciting new visual language for the still life, made relevant for the information age. In his works, the visual tropes of the still life genre are deconstructed and pieced back together in unexpected and witty ways. Krijno’s playful re-evaluation of the tableau tradition is a theme that continues throughout the works in the exhibition, particularly in his reframing of disposable materials, such as wooden veneer, bungee cords and plastic washing baskets and brooms. The accoutrements of daily life, often mundane or kitsch, give a wry nod to the banality and increasing homogeneity of our modern constructed world.


The subjects of Krijno’s modern still lifes are often temporary, unstable constructions, made of primarily overlooked or disposable objects. They are structures created only to be photographed; often toppling or falling to pieces the moment after the shutter clicks. Krijno describes the process of photographing these ephemeral structures as a ‘private physical performance, with the camera being the audience.’ Once captured by his lens, the toppled constructions are mostly left to decay in Krijno’s studio or are otherwise reconstituted as brand new structures, only to be photographed and forgotten once more. The unstable, temporary nature of his subjects can best be understood in Play Dough and Bottles . Krijno reworks the still life cliché of the empty bottle, as glass containers are stacked precariously, wrapped in play-dough and doused in popping primary colours.


Photographed in Krijno’s studio, these modern still lifes are subsequently digitally reworked by the artist. He is especially interested in the transformative power of the photograph to flatten space and confuse perspective, and uses digital manipulation to heighten these factors. Component parts are spliced together in Photoshop, scale is altered, backgrounds cut up and reassembled to create foreground details, and negative spaces made entirely solid. The sculpted wooden veneer panels of Veneer Wood Wood are ruptured and   disjointed   by   Krijno’s   digital   play,   as   shadows   and   their   solid counterparts bend and twist, contorting and re-emerging throughout the composition. It becomes difficult to choose which elements were once built in three dimensions and which are two-dimensional digital facsimiles.


The repetition of the rhythms and forms found in each image create confusing visual undulations. In Leonotis Leonurus the flaming orange buds of a Lion’s Ear plant are ripped from their stems and syncopated across the photograph’s surface. Krijno’s digital alterations often leave the works with a rough, handmade aesthetic, as the marks of his on-screen paintbrush are left tangible, almost visceral. These digital acts of alteration seem to relate to and record the lively movements and gestures of the artist’s original studio processes.


Krijno’s on going exploration of illusion, of both pictorial surface and material, reveal the artist’s deeper interest in photographic ‘truthfulness’. His digital alterations unfix the picture plane, referencing the instability of truthfulness as a concept in the age of the Internet. Intricately and painstakingly produced sculptures are flattened, solid surfaces made fluid and perspective is erased. These dazzling, magical images are made explicitly to be read in the context of our Internet-led, image saturated culture.

22 March - 22 April 2017

Entry is free



3-5 Swallow Street




Opening times

Monday - Saturday

10.00am - 5.30pm


Telephone: 020 7434 4319

Beetles+Huxley • 3-5 Swallow Street • London W1B 4DE      020 7434 4319