Nina Musholt's Banal Surreal

"I create an uncanny or unheimliche world within a world that already exists."


An interview with German born photographic artist Nina Musholt on her fascination with the banal and how she creates a surreal narrative of the everyday. She captures her surroundings using a fluid, intuitive artistic process which results in her own surrealist and abstract perspective on very commonplace acts.

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Abstract: My name is Nina, I am 26 years old and I am from Germany and studied photography in the Netherlands. My work is driven by surrealism and the daily myths and riddles. I like unexplainable things and the strange. 


Tell us more about you and your artwork.

I was born 1990 in a small rural German town close to the Dutch border. I studied photography in Enschede. I create an uncanny or unheimliche world within a world that already exists.

PW: How did you plan for this project? What was your creative process?

NM: I do not plan a series. I don't like to put my work into a box. It's a whole and ongoing process. It continues.

My decision to take a picture is based on intuition. An instinct I developed during the years. It's the sphere of the unexplainable that interests me.

PW: What work inspires or has inspired you?

NM: The first experience I had with art was when I was six years old. I travelled to Italy. We visited the sculptural park of Niki de Saint Phalle. She created a complete new world within one that already existed but there were still some recognisable, familiar elements. Seeing Niki de Saint Phalle's work had a huge impact on me as an artist. I walked around and explored this completely unknown and futuristic idea. I felt like, artistically, I was playing in a huge, new and exciting playground.

PW: Are there any artistic movements you enjoy in particular and why?

NM: I really enjoy the surrealistic movement and some publications on the biological processes of the human body. They introduce interesting discourse. You can often invent your own narrative about the ideals behind these paintings and images. It has a lot to do with fantasy, imagination and immersion into another world.

PW: Do you have any opinions or ideals underlying your art?

NM: I think that it is important to draw inspiration from your own environment and surroundings. To really get to know the space you're in is to think of it in different creative and interesting ways.

PW: You’re clearly a master of the black and white format Nina! What we really loved about this series was the strong narrative within the images. Can you tell us more about your dada-esque narrative and how you develop that?

NM: I have always been an observer. An explorer. I observe the people around me. I try to stay as curious and open minded about my surroundings as possible. I see the world and the things within it as a 'riddle' which has yet to be solved but at the same time I don't necessarily believe it can be solved. If I take a picture I'm constantly questioning myself: "What happens when I move forward?", "What if I move two meters to the left?" etc.

I'm intrigued by myths and mysterious spheres of thought.

PW: Any words for aspiring photographers?

NM: Stay curious and don't give up. Find the things that you are really passionate about. Your equipment is not as important as you think. If you feel creative with your mobile phone then use that. The most important thing is to train your eye and your Ways of Seeing.

PW: Is there anything you’re currently working on?

NM: I just started to work for the first time in years with colour photography. I am currently exploring architecture and the surreal.

View her website. Follow her IG.

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