collage on paper, 2016
In The Empire, Enrico Nagel (1987, Berlin) exhibits a series of 9 collages dealing with his reaction to TTIP -the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership- and the various debates which took place in civil society, notably in Germany, where the topic crystallized people’s social, economic and political fears. The artistic research started by Enrico Nagel, at the nexus of aesthetics and political issues, is coherent with his previous works, in the continuity of both his artistic career and his modus operanti.
As an artistic personality who works both in the fine arts and the illustration milieux, Nagel consistently alternates his conceptions of the artwork for itself and the artwork as a mercantile tool; without ever denying that both are part of an economic production system.
Whether presenting a white cube or producing a new piece for the cover of a magazine, Nagel follows the same visual path, using the alternation of his analytical frames to change the spectator’s experience. This visual path, his modus operandi, is collage composed of pieces of paper on a mostly unified background image, taken from other original sources.
By cutting images predominantly originating from fashion publications, Enrico Nagel creates a paralell system of artwork production -a sustainable one as it does not require any supplementary production.
Like the oil colors of a painter, Nagel has developped a palette of icons, of representations of objects that are reified as they are cut from their original publications. Banknotes, jewellery and DNA pictograms, on backgrounds of modern cities or deserts, depict an aesthetic of overconsumption and post-utopia.
The faded tonality of the choosen colors intensify the chaotic perception of a wasteful system of production which, for the artist, could lead to a dramatic apocalypse.
The imagination of Enrico Nagel, a faded post-everything atmosphere, cultivates a certain ambiguity between the current critical discourse and the visual language inherited from Pop Art, which is now the common aesthetic of fashion and visual advertising.
Mohamed Derbal - Paris, 2016