Profile: Sophia Nuske

Sophia Nuske’s artwork focuses on the everyday. She uses clay to create ordinary objects like pencils, power points, keys and door handles, encouraging audiences to look more closely at their environment and ask ‘is it real or not real?’

“I’m interested in the everyday, and our relationship to objects,” Nuske says. “In particular, how we interact with and interpret man-made objects and our surroundings. Man-made objects seem to take up so much of our daily experience, yet through over exposure we tend to overlook these interactions.” Nuske mainly works in clay because it’s so versatile and tactile but she also incorporates other materials and found objects into her work. The results are works that fit more into a sculptural context. “The audience seems to respond more directly to works that alter their physical landscape, so for me, the installation process has almost become as important as the object itself.” Sophia-Nuske-3 An important element in Nuske’s work is the use of humour which helps engage the audience. This might be through wordplay where objects involve language – like the bathroom locks that read ‘enraged’ instead of ‘engaged’ and ‘vacate’ in place of ‘vacant’. “One aspect of humour that has really stuck with me is finding the similar in dissimilar things. I think that a lot can be said of our relationship with objects, and their potential to reflect human behaviour,” explains Nuske. “Constantly looking for these similarities presents a new way of recognising the significance of daily experience.” Nuske also introduces humour through the use of mimicry – by hand modelling familiar objects they take on a certain cartoon like quality. She explains: “I also enjoy the contradiction of investing time in hand modelling each piece so they are all slightly different, compared to the mass produced ‘real’ object.” Sophia-Nuske Nuske recently had the opportunity to further explore the use of humour in her work by undertaking a 5-week mentorship with Sydney-based artist Stephen Bird called Beyond Limitations at the Gimhae ClayArch Museum in South Korea. “I’m really glad that I have had the chance to work with Stephen Bird, it has been great to watch him working and hear him talk about his practice. It’s refreshing to see someone who employs humour in a really subversive way, collecting fragments of daily experience to use in his work.” While Nuske’s recent solo exhibition at FELTspace in 2014 consisted of a large installation work with lots of small components the latest exhibition at Hugo Michell Gallery features works that are a return to what Nuske describes as, “one off hand built objects, each with their own exploration of function”.   Sophia Nuske Slip of the Pun Hugo Michell Gallery Until Saturday, September 26 sophianuske.com

Adelaide In-depth

Get the latest stories, insights and exclusive giveaways delivered straight to your inbox every week.