Ida Nissen
Compile Your Inventory

Siblings, 2019 83 x 96 cm, collage, unique photogram

March 7 – March 29 2020

Compile Your Inventory is an exhibition featuring new work by Ida Nissen. The title of the show references the writer Antonio Gramsci’s interpretation, that history deposits in us an infinity of traces, that ultimately shape our identity. Traces of heredity, individual and collective traditions, relations or experiences; all contribute to gather such an inventory. Significantly though, an inventory or guide to make sense of this history is missing. 

In a visual dialogue that expand on the themes of displacement and abstraction, Nissen is examining this idea by compiling fragments of shapes, signs and symbols; inspired by her South Korean heritage, whilst re-interpreting the boundaries between what is known or foreign, authentic or constructed, present or absent. Approaching the zone in between these boundaries, visual abstraction becomes a way to experience what fails to be represented in language or thought. Her photographic collages are linking figures, colours and textures into new images. Nissen is stretching and twisting associations, eventually leaving it up to the world to place them. What unfolds is an abstract and tactile narrative, a process of familiarising with the foreign or assigning it to new positions. 

The collages are made from layered photograms, a process where the light is exposed through a screen mesh multiple times on the photographic paper, creating a repetitive pattern of enlargements, mutations and overlapping of textures. On the one hand, this process underlays references to printmaking and tapestry that challenge the presumption that photography belongs within conventional categories. On the other hand, it brings forward the materiality of photography and the duality between digital and analogue, demanding further questions about the ideas of labour and representation alongside the agency of the viewer. 

Ida Nissen (b. 1986) is based in London, UK. Nissen earned her BFA from Valand Academy in Gothenburg, followed by her MFA from the Royal College of Art in London. Her practice encompasses collage and photography, putting emphasis on abstract narratives and the multiple associations existing in between the already known and the foreign. Recent work makes pointed references to the nature of photography, its materiality, and ultimately the colour darkroom as an important site of production.

She has exhibited widely in Europe. Recent exhibitions include: Galleri Image, DK, Somerset House, Photo London; European Parallel Platform: Lisbon, Zagreb, Entree, Bergen, Skape Gallery, Seoul, and SIRIN Gallery, Copenhagen, DK. She published the book Raumflucht in 2016 with Heavy Books.