Born 1987, Basel, Switzerland

Lives and works in Basel

education

2010 – 2018 Assistant to Mel Ramos
2007 – 2010 B.A. in Business Administration, University of St.Gallen
2003 – 2006 High School, Major in Mathematics, Physics, Architecture and Design, Basel

selected exhibitions

2018 ‘Are cars art?’, Grand Basel, Basel, Switzerland
2018 ‘Art Parcours Zuoz – Art e Poesias in la Plaiv’, Zuoz, Switzerland
2018 ‘Mark Tobey, Lenz Klotz, Nikolai Winter’, Galerie Carzaniga, Basel, Switzerland
2014 ‘Alles schön und gut?’, Herbert-Gerisch Stiftung, Neumünster, Germany
2014 ‘3 Years Scheublein + Bak’, Scheublein + Bak, Zürich, Switzerland
2013 ‘Consumerism’, Scheublein + Bak, Zürich, Switzerland
2012 ‘Art in the Park X’, Baur au Lac, Zürich, Switzerland
2012 ‘We Not Me’, Scheublein + Bak, Basel, Switzerland
2011 ‘The Dialogue of Hands’, St. Moritz, Switzerland
2011 ‘Luxury Goods’, Mondejar Gallery, Zürich, Switzerland
2010 ‘Abhaya’, Appel Design Gallery, Berlin Mitte, Germany

commissions

Lindt & Sprüngli, Switzerland

Molkerei Alois Müller GmbH, Germany

D. Swarovski KG, Austria

Pop art’s influence manifested itself very early in Nikolai Winter’s artistic efforts. At the age of 12, he was able to produce an eerily realistic copy of Niki de St. Phalle’s ‘Nana’ completely from his memory and imagination. His exceptional knowledge and competence about various materials and elements brought him to the attention of Mel Ramos. His role as assistant to Ramos, producing his large stainless steel and aluminium sculptures fired his ambition to create his own original work; he created several series on hand gestures whilst learning the process of hand-sculpting in clay, plaster and styrofoam autodidactically.

His first important sculpture was then produced under a contract for the young art collector Carl Hirschmann. The cast aluminum, high-luster automotive paint-finished work ‘Doigt d’honneur’ (‘Shooting the Bird’) was not just a complex creative work; it rapidly became a controversial attraction at the celebrated Zurich night club St. Germain. The media success of this provocative sculpture reached a high point when displayed near St. Moritz in the Engadine Alps on Muottas Muragl. Chic society and art enthusiasts discussed and debated; what was the message here? At whom is this aimed?

However, it was not provocation that took center stage – rather the controversy over the cultural meaning of a simple hand gesture. This small furor culminated in another series of works where Nikolai Winter presented the western culture-dominated, imperially positive hand signal for victory (V) as a contrast to the subtle, Eastern philosophy-defined hand signal ‘Abhaya’ (‘Have no fear’).

The most ambitious project followed: the actual transformation of a Rolls Royce Corniche into a Buddha statue more than two meters high. With technical bravado, Winter deconstructed this ultimate capitalism symbol into individual pieces, leaving only the integral, unmistakable Rolls Royce hood emblem, ‘Emily’ as a clue to the origin of the Buddha statue material. Interestingly, the Indian philosopher Osho (1931 – 1990) provoked the west with his Rolls Royce  ‘parades’, where he symbolically set ‘inner riches’ on display.

In his newest series, ‘Luxury Goods’, Nikolai Winter has chosen high-end products like a Coca Cola bottle, the Chanel No. 5 flagon, Ray Ban sunglasses or the Dom Pérignon flask – and produced vacuumed luxury goods in chrome foil. These products figure prominently in our daily culture and have become identification marks and status symbols of 20th century western culture. The high-gloss polished luxury goods works seem to almost resemble religious relics, rendered immortal through movie scenes or fleeting shots as props for movie icons like Marilyn Monroe or James Bond.

As an artist, Winter takes a consumer-critical approach, where he reflects on the market fetishes of an overabundant, bloated western culture. From another side, material transformation processes take center stage: when, for example, he captures a chrome foil-packed ‘luxury good’ in three dimensions through the newest computer technology and then has it cut out of a polyurethane cube.  Although an original and an imitation may seem almost identical, the materials as well as the production process are basically and radically different. The imitation of reality produced through a painstaking, demanding production process is completely different from a ‘ready-made’ Duchamps. Behind the tempting shine and gloss hides a bitter hint of the banal aftertaste of today’s consumer society.