100 Magic Dolls
A solo exhibition by Nina Wengel
August 23 - September 30, 2023
100 Magic Dolls is an exhibition celebrating the launch of visual artist Nina Wengel’s catalog by the same name, showcasing two series of work, 100 Magic Dolls and Oh, what a beautiful eternity.
100 magic dolls is a collection of dolls, which Nina created during a long period of fertility treatments. As a ritual, she created a doll every time the risk of a miscarriage filled her with anxiety. The dolls are made from the artist’s belongings, such as clothes, shoes, and bags. Serving as a lucky charm, each of the artist’s dolls has a red or pink found object attached to it.
The inspiration for making dolls to promote fertility, derives from African Zulu culture, to which the artist was exposed to from an early age, due to her mother’s Southern African background. As a result, the artist was surrounded by a number of Zulu artifacts in her childhood home, which she absorbed as part of her family history. As an adult, Nina traveled to South Africa to broaden her understanding of this ancient culture by studying the color and pattern codes of Zulu beadwork.
Oh, what a beautiful eternity is an ongoing series of paintings, using different materials that vary in size, depicting a recurring sunset motif. Through repetition, the artist attempts to create an eternity, and a connection from this life to the next. The repetition of the red half-circle sunset pattern becomes a significant reason for the artist to continue her work, while always asking herself “what is good work?” – perfection or efficiency? The paintings show both an attempt to create perfection and the traces of a wandering mind, manifested in the imperfect, uneven rows of her sunset patterns.
The red thread that connects these two bodies of work is the use of artmaking and repetition to cope with deeply painful situations and times of fear. In a desperate attempt to influence the outcome of her fertility treatment, for instance, the artist channels her anxiety into creating her doll sculptures. Although each doll is unique, the repetitive process behind their creation represents a calming activity. Similarly, the act of repeating the red sunset patterns served, at the time, as a coping mechanism to help the artist navigate a sudden fear of death following a difficult surgery.
Lastly, Nina’s crystal lamps are included in 100 Magic Dolls to add to the healing qualities inherent in the paintings and doll sculptures through the therapeutic use of light and color.
For more information about the exhibition, please visit the gallery website or write to the curator Cila Brosius at email@example.com. You can also follow the gallery on Instagram or Facebook for updates and previews.
More about THE CRYSTAL LAMP
Nina Wengel’s crystal lamps are a result of the artist’s long-held fascination with the therapeutic use of light and color. The lamps’ healing qualities speak directly to the calming effects of repetition and creation embodied in the paintings and doll sculptures included in the exhibition 100 Magic Dolls.
The first edition of THE CRYSTAL LAMP design was developed by the artist as part of an installation, commissioned by the Danish Arts Council to create a comforting atmosphere in a counseling room at Odense University Hospital.
The metal parts of the lamp are produced locally at N.H. Steel WaterCut, and the elegant, sustainable packaging is made at Bruunshaab Gamle Papfabrik. Each piece of quartz is hand-picked and mounted by the artist, in hopes that each lamp will bring its owners joy and peace of mind.
Visit thecrystallamp.dk for more information.
About the Artist
Nina Wengel (b. 1979) is a Danish visual artist who graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. She has exhibited her works in various countries, including Japan, Germany, and the United States. Her main medium is painting, but she also explores other forms of expression. She uses universal symbols, such as the sun, moon, mountains, and everyday objects, such as chairs, tables, and lamps, to create works that can transcend time and space. She also creates performative healing events under the name GOOD WORK Productions, a self-invented organization that aims to influence the individual, society, and the universe in a positive way through art. These projects mostly take place in public spaces, in order to enhance the participatory and interactive aspect of the event.
About the Curator
Cila Brosius (b. 1990) is a German-American curator based in Copenhagen. She has a background in Chinese Studies, Anthropology, and Visual Arts Administration, and has worked in a variety of contemporary arts organizations for the past ten years as a curator, content creator, and art business coach. She is particularly interested in enhancing the accessibility of the art world, and creating a platform for cultural exchange by promoting artists of all career stages.
Bien Contemporary, Vester Voldgade 8, 1552, Copenhagen, Denmark
Or by appointment by writing to: firstname.lastname@example.org