Heroic Nihilism 2



“Heroic nihilism means to face up to the hopelessness of reality and, in
spite of all desperation about it, never to surrender. In addition a
radicalization of the personal idea of reality and its perception is
inevitable” – explains Lori Hersberger.

Gallery Nicola von Senger is pleased to present new works by this Swiss
artist who counts as his mainspring desperation about the world in all its
facets. His works are not a comment on the reality of everyday life: social
fears, compulsions or general economic crises are not the influences of his
practice. In the centre of his work the individual and existential
questions stand.
At the beginning of his artistic career Hersberger borrowed from a variety
of media but for the past 10 years he has concentrated primarily on
sculpture and painting. He often uses mirrors and neon lights, elements
that he sees as illustrating the basic conditions of our perception; light
letting us recognise contrasts, the mirror reflecting the world as it is.
For Hersberger, even if the mirror shows with the reflected real a
deception, in the end, it represents what we call reality.

Where does reality end and deception begin? Hersberger’s art revolves
around this question and for its exploration he employs smooth, highly
reflective surfaces. The surface, for Hersberger, being the first point for
impressions and the interface between inside and outside; rarely does it
show us the true content and instead often deceives with a flawless facade.
With such reflective materials the artist explores these relationships and
illustrates the complexity of the way in which the act of observing and
being observed truly functions.

In the current exhibition Hersberger presents a series of photographic
collages and different sculptures. Among them a neon light wall piece and a
chrome steel sculpture titled ‘Sudden Death’. This shining, misshapen,
chrome work makes clear the technical and artistic process between chance
and purpose; vacuuming with a suction-compressor deforms the geometrical
shape of an airtight welded-metal body, the transformation takes place
within a second. The air is sucked out completely; the material gives way
at its weakest point and breaks. Thus, the existing form is moved into
another shape and the intervention is irreversible, the result is not

Exemplary for his oeuvre this process, along with the use of light and
reflection, show the artist’s interest lying with carefully thought out
deformation and not destruction. His work is decidedly about control,
specifically the control of loss, nuances and moments of perception. For
Hersberger the putative desire for destruction as an antidote to the
desperation of reality can be perceived as a surface deception.

Judith Platte, April 2012