Michelle Nikou: aeiou is an innovative, playful and poetic exhibition that challenges, entertains and stimulates conversations between viewers of all ages.
The exhibition explores the Adelaide-based artist’s idiosyncratic cross-disciplinary practice, while stimulating critical thought around the legacies of modern art movements and the nature of contemporary practice.
Nikou characteristically draws on surrealism in a reflective and productive way to transform domestic and mundane items and materials into objects of humour and marvel. She inventively uses surrealist strategies and techniques such as chance, automatism, detritus, collage, psychological or sexual metaphor, deadpan wit, surprise and juxtaposition, as well as mingling high and low art sources and cultural references.
Nikou’s practice is characterised by a deep engagement with language and she frequently creates installations based around a single word or phrase in a manner reminiscent of concrete poetry. She makes connections between art and literature that invoke suburban life, family interactions, relationships, and food.
Seemingly disparate concepts and materials are regularly combined to produce unsettling and sometimes absurd effects, such as fried eggs made in bronze that are displayed flat on the wall, their forms suggesting the vowels of the alphabet.
In addition to the cast sculptural objects for which she is perhaps best known, Nikou makes experimental textile pieces and jewellery that explore related domestic and emotional themes.
Image: Michelle Nikou, Yoked, 2016, Wood, bronze, patina, 37 x 37 x 22 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Darren knight Gallery, Sydney.