Michelle Nikou: Book Review

Michelle Nikou is an artist that uses the small and mundane objects of everyday life as inspiration to create her sculptures.
Michelle Nikou: Book Review
Michelle Nikou: Book Review Michelle Nikou is an artist that uses the small and mundane objects of everyday life as inspiration to create her sculptures. As with many other contemporary artists her work draws from concepts and ideas translating them into a physical object. This book looks at some of those ideas and how they relate to specific works. It begins, as with the others in the SALA series, with an extended written introduction into the artist works. In his introduction, rather than being a purely biographical account of places and dates, Boulton looks at the concepts which surround the works as well a looking at and analysing the individual artworks themselves locating them within their contemporary framework. Nikou draws her inspiration from many of the domestic objects we have around us. She casts them in other material like bronze and re-contextualises them. The humble tissue box becomes an abstract sculpture with the small oval shaped lids that are often discarded becoming an artwork all of her own. Using materials like potato shapes and half eaten biscuits, Nikou’s work forces the viewer to re-evaluate these objects and see them in a new context. A strength of this book is the way in which Boulton analyses and describes the artworks. He interprets these works in a manner particular to contemporary art history, focusing in on the individual objects rather than solely viewing them as ‘a thing an artist did’ or as a symptom of art history at large. While these factors are of no less importance given the nature of the works a contemporary analysis is an effective and appropriate way of writing about Nikou’s artworks. A gallery of photographs of these works provides large vivid images that the reader can refer to and allows the reader to look at the individual details of each work that Boulton describes in the written introduction. Large photographs are set against smaller detailed photographs so the reader misses none of the fine details like the small text on the insides of tiny curtain rings. This book contains Nikou’s Curriculum Vitae that provides details of her exhibition and awards, as well as other articles on her work. It also includes a section of gallery notes that in some cases clarifies the meaning of the works feature and on other cases provides more information and an added layer of meaning. While some may find the structure of the writing difficult, it has the strength of contemporary visual analysis of contemporary art sculptures which identifies important elements of Michelle Nikou works. Ken Boulton is a writer, poet, art critic, editor and publisher associated with Adelaide’s Experimental Art Foundation. He has written several other books both independently and collaboratively with other writers. This book, Michelle Nikou, was published as part of the 2005 SALA (South Australian Living Artist) Festival by Wakefield press. The 2009 SALA Festival is currently on in Adelaide and Regional South Australia. Michelle Nikou: Book Review Author: Ken Boulton Genre: Art; sculpture Publisher: Wakefield press ISBN: 1 86254 676 2 RRP: $45 AUD $59.95 NZ

Jade Wildy

Tuesday 25 August, 2009

About the author

Jade Wildy is an art theorist and historian based in Adelaide, Australia and she is currently studying for a Masters of Art History at the University of Adelaide. Jade holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts, with a major in ceramics from the University of South Australia. Jade aspires to become an art writer and researcher to pursue her love of visual art and art history. Her current research interests centre around contemporary art with a particular focus on Environmental Art, but she also has a love for psychology, biology and contemporary culture through art, music and dance. Jade enjoys working in her established home studio, as well as fiction and arts writing, and have written numerous reviews for ArtsHub Australia on both visual and performing arts in addition to several book reviews.