"We’re so used to seeing computer-generated images now that it has a big impact on how we see all images. I think this describes the look my figures have”.
Swiss-born artist Nicolas Party is widely associated with Post-Internet art and is known for challenging the boundaries of traditional painting by creating uncanny portraits, landscapes and still lifes. His paintings reduce familiar subjects to a few essential lines, giving them an iconic quality. Inspired by 20th century movements such as Exhibitionism and Fauvism, his works are defined by a flat, digital aesthetic, vibrant colour palette, skewed perspectives and a mixture of fantastical and everyday elements. Party works across a range of different media including sculptures, installations, prints and drawing. His murals often serve as architectural intervention and as a framework to his wall-based works, challenging how the viewers perceive and interact with the exhibition space.
Nicolas Party was born in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1980, where he studied at the Lausanne School of Art. He was involved in the tagging and graffiti scene in Switzerland in the 1990s. The Swiss landscape left a lasting impression on the artist and has become one of the most prominent subject matters of his later paintings. In his earlier career, he worked as a 3D animator, which proved to be a significant influence on his Post-Internet aesthetic and the two-dimensional quality of his compositions. He received his MFA from Glasgow School of Art in 2009.
Party’s painting style is characterised by imbuing everyday objects, figures, animals and landscapes with a surrealistic and digital effect through a dramatic use of colour, unexpected and skewed compositional style and a blend of figuration and abstraction. His work puts an emphasis on iconic representation, symbolism and experimentation with form rather than detailed, realistic painting. The artist cites Alex Katz and Hans Emmenegger as key influences. Party works within three main genres; still life, portraiture and landscape painting, and merging the lines between these categories. By creating amorphous figures and elements of the landscapes that adopt biomorphic shapes such as in the painting Sunrise (2018), Party disregards traditional categorisation. He renders human body parts in a more geometric style like in Portrait with Cat (2016), and in his ongoing Still Life Series (2014 to present), multicoloured, anthropomorphic apples and pears seem to stretch, melt and bend like living bodies.
His three-dimensional works, like his sculptures, murals and ceramics represent fragmented body parts including oversized heads or busts, referencing the Ancient Greek and Roman traditions. They’re often displayed on theatrical, multilevel plinths, like in Party’s 2018 exhibition at M WOODS in Beijing. These works are equally defined by a bold use of colour and grotesque proportions, acting as spatial interventions and immersive settings for his exhibitions.
Throughout his career, he has also had solo exhibitions in prestigious institutions across the globe, including the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles (2016), the Hirschhorn Museum in DC (2017), the Dallas Museum of Art (2017) and M WOODS in Beijing (2018). He is represented by Hauser & Wirth gallery as well as a number of smaller galleries such as Xavier Hufkens, Karma in New York, Kaufmann Repetto in Milan, Modern Institute in Glasgow and Galerie Gregor Staiger in Zurich. Nicolas Party’s recent large-scale retrospective was hosted by MASI Lugano in Lugano, Switzerland in 2021. He lives and works between New York and Brussels.