A solo exhibition by Nikolas K. Nitzsche-Tollet | December 2, 2023 – Jan 4, 2024

Opening event on Saturday, December 2nd, 4-6:30 pm


Nikolas K. Nitzsche-Tollet

Friendly Monsters showcases a selection of black and white drawings from an ongoing series by Swedish-German artist Nikolas K. Nitzsche-Tollet. The drawings are inspired by the artist’s hallucinations, resulting from schizophrenia. 


Nitzsche-Tollet’s work exposes a world populated by dark, often macabre-looking figures that range from monstrous eyes surrounded by teeth, to grim sailors looming in front of a lonely oceanic backdrop. However outlandish these depictions might appear, Nitzsche-Tollet’s creatures are not meant to be terrifying, but rather intriguing and endearing, as the artist himself calls them “friendly monsters”. Nitzsche-Tollet invites the viewers to look beyond the unfamiliar surface, and see the personality of each of these beings, creating a space to explore the friendly and complex side of something usually considered frightening or disturbing. 


The artist’s ability to empathize with the often misunderstood brings to mind well-known figures in pop-culture that evoke similar reactions, such as Casper the Friendly Ghost, or Frankenstein’s Monster. Nitzsche-Tollet incorporates powerful symbols in his drawings, such as teeth, which, historically  have been used in literature and art to represent power and violence, yet also youth, vitality, identity, and nourishment. Often, the artist  includes a lighthouse in the distance with a lone sailor in the foreground;  both of these images provoke thoughts of  navigating perilous environments. Hands, spirals, skulls, skeletons, and eyes, are recurring motifs in Nitzsche-Tollet’s drawings.  Eyes, in particular,  are strong representations for sight, perception, and hallucinations, whereas the frequent use of windows and doors could suggest portals to other worlds.


Friendly Monsters is a remarkable example of visualizing imagination, hallucination, as well as processing the difficult experience of schizophrenia—a mental disorder that is still poorly understood. The meticulously detailed ink drawings serve as a form of expression and communication for the artist, enabling him to share and visualize experiences and interpretations of reality otherwise imperceptible to the rest of us. 


For more information about the exhibition or to book a gallery visit, do not hesitate to write to the curator Cila Brosius at (+45 53 54 85 95) or the artist Nikolas K. Nitzsche-Tollet at

About the Artist

Nikolas K. Nitzsche-Tollet (b. 1972, Stockholm) was born to a Swedish mother and German father, and was raised in Bornholm, Gudhjem. He graduated as an architect in 2002 from the Royal Danish Academy–Architecture (Kunstakademiets Arkitektskole). Having previously been diagnosed with schizophrenia, Nitzsche-Tollet suffered  a herniated disc, which required him to venture out on long walks as part of his physical rehabilitation. During these excursions, the artist encountered a number of hallucinatory creatures, which were either walking alongside him or crawling along the walls winking. This is the inspiration for his ongoing Friendly Monsters series.

To view the artist’s (almost) complete collection of drawings, be sure to visit his Instagram: @nikoniti

About the Curator

Cila Brosius (b. 1990, New York) is a German-American curator based in Copenhagen. She holds a master’s degree from New York University with a background in Chinese Studies, Anthropology, and Visual Arts Administration. She 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 through cross-generational and cross-cultural dialogue.

Instagram: @cilabrosius

Bien Contemporary, Vester Voldgade 8, 1552, Copenhagen, Denmark

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