NICHOLAS HANISCH

In 2021, PICA celebrates 30 years supporting the work of Australia’s leading artists at the earliest stages of their careers through the iconic Hatched: National Graduate Show, the only national exhibition of its kind. Over this time PICA has presented the work of over a thousand artists who have gone on to help define contemporary Australian practice as the leading artists of their generation. This anniversary offers an opportunity to share and understand the impact and importance of the exhibition that forms a cornerstone of PICA’s annual program.  Through an exciting program of events, artist talks, digital engagement and professional development opportunities, PICA invites you to reflect and celebrate the value of this beloved exhibition, both in the past and into the future.

From the primordial sludge the being is made: golem, new life, self-replicating cappuccino foam, elemental secrets, body malfunctions, leave a hole for the soul, numinous breath, desiring humanness, pack them away for a rainy day, six drops of sinister sauce, stir vigorously to remove lumps, sneeze into schnoz for desired liveliness, desperately vulnerable, crumbling effigies, it’s alive!

Nicholas Hanisch’s work investigates creation narratives within the history of figurative sculpture, whilst celebrating the humour, the horror, the happenstance, and the sheer endeavour of creation. In his process, he focuses on ways in which to generate effectual responses in the audience, encouraging them to respond to the work as though it were a living being and react through expressions of emotion, whether that be humour, horror, or fear. Hanisch’s series of sculptures specifically focus on the Jewish folktale of the Golem as well as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. He uses clay modelling, plaster cast reproduction, and plaster building techniques to form larger-than-life sculptures that encourage imaginative responses from the viewer. During the making process, these sculptures constantly evolved, responded to, and adapted to their surroundings. Like Prometheus moulding man in Greek mythology or the cadaver amalgamation of Frankenstein’s Monster, Hanisch imbues his sculptures with a sense of life that aims to generate a human response with the viewer.

Photography by Bo Wong.