Interview with Super Nhozagri Kingdom

Algorithms can be great! Sometimes. I still remember the first time a picture of Nhozagri floated into my Instagram feed. I hadn’t seen anything like it before. It was a pastel watercolor, perhaps behind epoxy – glittery epoxy! – and framed by a furry fabric flower. The flower embeds the painting gently, allowing the viewer to only catch a glimpse of the art. A small chain that looks like an earring is hanging around the flower. At the chains end, a tiny red-eyed fly buzzes around. „This flower is sweet!“ the caption said. I mean: How sweet is this comment? I immediately went to her profile and entered it –  the Super Nhozagri Kingdom.

That was a few years ago. Since then, I’ve been trying to figure out what makes Nhozagri’s work so stunning. Is it her approach to materials? The way how she combines hard with cuddly soft, transparent with opaque? Is it the self-confident fragility and vulnerability that her figures radiate? Is it the incomparable aesthetic of cuteness, in which the lightheartedness of a child’s approach to the world asserts itself? For an upcoming issue of KUNSTFORUM International I am writing a text about Nhozagri’s work. For this occasion we did a little interview.

Hi Nhozagri! You call yourself „Super Nhozagri Kingdom.“ Where does this name come from and what does it mean to you?

„Super Nhozagri Kingdom“ is a general name for a narrative that I create with my work. I like unconventional narratives! Strange stories, paradoxes, odd structures and storytelling, and wayward performers – all of these could be described as elements of a parallel universe, a dimension that can be felt but not seen. My art is like a recording device or an image catcher of this parallel universe. I imagine it like this: I record the parallel world in the form of stories so that they become accessible to human civilization. Just like adventure stories, myths or fairy tales. In this respect, my complete work so far is the sum of these stories. Its name is „Super Nhozagri Kingdom“, just like there are „Green’s Fairy Tales“ and „Robinson Crusoe“. But I am not the king 🙂

Exhibition View © SIMULSCRA & The Artist

How would you characterize the Kingdom? What does it look like, how is it living there? 

Well, it’s a parallel world… and the characters can be described as aliens. There are no conflicts yet, I think. The advantage is that as soon as the viewers scan the works with their eyes, their consciousness reaches the parallel world.

Your visual world is so unique and distinctive – where do you get your inspiration?

From „sailing downstream with the current,“ which is a state of mind from Taoism where everything is ‚one‘. When I am in this state, everything is inspiration – even powerlessness and laziness. Just everything has a form.

Are there any artists who have had a particular influence on you?

I love a group of artists called Paper Rad. I was strongly drawn to their ‚Gesamtkunstwerk‘ early on. Once it meets the magical world of Paper Rad, every shape becomes part of that Gesamtkunstwerk. In her active years in the early 2000s, her works looked marginalized and underground. I like ‚marginalized‘ so much. What is marginalized is not in the center, but on the edge. But the edge acts like a magnet. It exerts a special attraction on everything that is connected to it. At the same time, the edge is a dynamic area. And no matter how the center expands and migrates, the edge will always exist.

Light(Sunshine On The Left, Time On The Right)
160 x 100cm
Acrylic On Canvas,Resin

Is „cuteness“ an aesthetic that you chose consciously?

Cuteness is a kind of aesthetic gene, I didn’t research it specifically and then use it. In fact, the pictures I paint today are the same as the ones I painted as a child. The style has never changed. Although I received a traditional art education in college, my work aims to reject the logic of creations that aim to be methodically correct and successful.

On the other hand, cuteness is also a generational aesthetic. Manga and cartoons were a very important spiritual experience when we were kids. Actually, Super Nhozagri Kingdom is something like a cartoon in our memory. I want to emphasize „in our memory“ because all memories are just fragments, and some of the memories are not facts. It’s more about how my Kingdom feels to others. I am very interested in mysticism. I was once told that one of my „past lives“ existed in 2D cartoons. 2D, 3D, 4D, all these different dimensions have been around since the Big Bang. And human consciousness is connected to each dimension. It’s also connected to a rock, to a drop of water, also to a cartoon, and of course to cuteness. I know that sounds strange. But I think it’s a way to look at cuteness. We use our consciousness to create what we think of as reality. And then we use consciousness to experience that reality and develop theories in the process….

Is it allowed to play with your art? You make cuddly toys from time to time!

Thank you for noticing the toys. The toys must be happy! I am always ready to play. Because playing is a closer and more intimate way to experience art. From the perspective of my parallel world concept, it’s also a dimension-crossing experience!

A Playment
acrylic on caves,plush,resin
100 x 80cm

Does humor play a role in your work?

Humor and happiness are cause and effect. Many works convey the energy of happiness, so humor plays a role in the works.

You often use color schemes/techniques that make your images glow as if from within. Is this an effect that is important to you, and if so: why?

I’m glad you noticed the glow. For me light is like a channel that connects the three-dimensional world to the Kingdom. Light is a bridge, everything is born in light. In classical European painting, light is a very important medium. Artists used light to create. So yes, I very much hope that the light in my works shines from within.

Can you say something about how you use materials? I find it so interesting how soft, cuddly and hard, unyielding materials come together in your work.

My studio is full of junk o(*≧▽≦)ツ

I have a habit of collecting materials that interest me. There is never a sketch for a work, I just can’t work according to a plan. I usually stay in the studio for a certain amount of time and go by my feelings when making artwork and choosing materials.

Exhibition View © SIMULSCRA & The Artist

You also make figures out of candles, steamed bread or snow – is transience a theme in your work?

Thank you very much for this hint! Yes, I like the theme of time. The physical time of a work itself is also a form of expression, like colors. I hope to bring the element of time into the experience of an artwork, because I feel that experiencing time stimulates people’s emotions. So I really like to think about time, but at the same time, time is too abstract to turn into a physical artwork. It’s easy to feel, but hard to show. I hope to create a body of work that is not about the physical material, but that people can empathize with. Like I’m building an energy field that you can enter through meditation! One will still be allowed to dream, haha.

Thank you!

It’s me
Air-filling Installation
600 x 500 x 850cm
Image from hAo mArket