Nathaniel Rackowe, visual artist from the United Kingdom. Photography © Green Man Trust
1.Tell us what you do and your beginnings.
I’m a London based artist from the UK. My large-scale urban referenced structures, and light sculptures are designed to recreate the experience of navigating the city around us. These works are abstracted impressions of today’s metropolitan experience evoked through the vicissitudes of light as it fluctuates throughout the city.
I’m influenced by Modernism, film and video games and use the mass manufactured derivative products of the modernist era – glass, corrugated plastics, concrete, scaffolding, breeze blocks and strip lights – to recreate the collective experience and visual sensations of urban contemporary life, while incorporating my deeply personal emotional response to flowing through built space.
2.What are your favourite museums in the world? Why?
These are so many great museum spaces, big and small. I like the museums with odd and surprising spaces. Did you know the Palais de Tokyo in Paris has a hidden secret street art and installation section? Perhaps they destroyed it by now, but it used to be behind a closed door in that labyrinth basement of theirs.
The Tanks at Tate Modern are my favourite Tate spaces. I once exhibited at Total Museum in Seoul, South Korea, which was a beautiful building in the hills overlooking the city. Plus too many more to mention.
3.How important are social networks in your business? And which platform do you prefer and why.
Social networks serve a very useful function. While you can’t really get a very full experience of my artwork though a small screen, at the same time it does allow a fraction of that experience to reach thousands more people than would otherwise have the ability to see my work in person. My hope is that then some of those people seek out a physical encounter when they can.
I prefer Instagram, and was fortunate enough for the platform themselves to reach out and ask to promote my work on their feed, which again widened the demographic of those who know my work to beyond the typical “art audience”. As an artist, ultimately I’d like my works to be a democratic as possible in terms of who they can reach.
4.What are your future projects?
Next up in a light art project in Ghent, Belgium. I’ll be making a new site specific installation, happening at the end of January 2021. I’m also developing new works for a solo show in London, more details that will be revealed on my Instagram in the coming months.
5.To create greater engagement among museums, artists and professionals, do you have any advice for cultural projects such as #MuseumWeek?
I think it really goes back to the point I made above about how experiencing art should be democratic, and available for all. Museums are a good starting point, and can be brilliant at that, as long as they find innovative ways to ensure all feel welcome.
Also, increasingly, alternative spaces, some artists run, some grassroots, some accidental, are playing a very significant role, as funding is removed from traditional museums, and when artists continuously feel excluded as large museums chase ticket sales with big name established artists.
It would be great to encourage more communication between smaller art initiatives and established museums. Perhaps #MuseumWeek will blaze a trail in this!
Interview by Fabio Pariante, journalist
Nathaniel Rackowe (Cambridge, 1975) is a visual artist from the United Kingdom and studied sculpture at the Slade School Of Fine Art in London.
The main element of his production is light and each multi-material work is made with neon tubes of different colors, kinetic elements and other materials of industrial production, which define site specific installations that confuse and hypnotize the user at the same time. They are large-scale works and the characteristics of each are color, space, light and movement that blend perfectly with the surrounding environment.
Copenhagen, London, New York, Hobart Tasmania, Paris, Bangkok, Milan, Berlin, Lima and Abu Dhabi are just some of the cities in which Rackowe has exhibited. The artist lives and works in London.