Berndnaut Smilde

Berndnaut Smilde was born in 1978 in Groningen, The Netherlands, and today, he makes his home and creates art in Amsterdam. He’s widely recognized for his Nimbus series, in which he immortalizes brief moments in unique settings. In these artistic ventures, Smilde specializes in blending illusion with reality to create surreal experiences. For instance, Nimbus shows clouds forming indoors, a phenomenon we’d typically expect outside.

Smilde’s first Nimbus experiment captured a diminutive cloud inside a miniature model of a classical museum space, covering an area of 6m2. Presented in an unconventional online gallery, this initial attempt marked the beginning of his artistic quest. Two years later, he perfected his technique, resulting in Nimbus II.

Fast forward to 2012, and Smilde brought Nimbus II to life in an empty sixteenth-century chapel in Hoorn, a small Dutch town. He employed a smoke machine, escalated the room’s humidity, and utilized dramatic lighting to create his masterpiece. The end result was a cloud of misty water droplets, transformed into a complex visual drama under his skilled hands.

‘On the one hand, I wanted to create an ominous situation. You could see the cloud as a sign of misfortune. You could also read it as an element out of the Dutch landscape paintings in a physical form in a classical museum hall,’ — Berndnaut Smilde.


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