Dazed Digital


Nini Gollong

October 10, 2012

From Karl Lagerfeld to Tim Walker, the installation artist and celebrated set designer on her inspirations and work

  • Text by Christine Bierhals

Nini Gollong started her career as fashion stylist before she moved from her hometwon Munich to Paris, where her work evolved into larger, beautiful art installations and set designs and she started racking up projects with the likes of Karl Lagerfeld and Ellen Von Unwerth and exhibitions in Paris, New York and St. Tropez, whilst Vogue, VS and GQ Style magazines all lavished on the praise. There's a surreal beauty and natural stillness within her work, cinematic yet elegant, somewhat dark yet optimistic.

Satellite Voices: How do you describe your work?
Nini Gollong: My work as a set designer and my work as an installation artist are quite different and yet they're connected, this is what I love about it. Regarding fashion sets, I am always working on a theme that is given by the magazine, client or something I have in my mind. Always inspired by nature, art and contemporary design collections.

In my art installations I play with the interaction of contemporary design and natural elements and the fusion of both of them. For each single installation, I try to develop a mesmerizing world, always with the aim of giving a moment of inner serenity to the people experiencing the installation. My installations are about suggesting feelings, appealing senses.

SV: What was the first thing you ever made?
Nini Gollong: I started working in fashion nine-years-ago as a fashion stylist. For my third shoot I was designing a few hats made out of all kinds of chocolate, licorice, pralines and gummy bears. To keep them safe and to avoid the risk that my cats eat the little art pieces I was putting them on the top of my flat mate’s closet after the shoot. After one year, forgetting about them completely, she had some new little pets... a family of 5,000 chocolate moths.

SV: What’s your next project?
Nini Gollong:
Summer break is over, the next season starts, so I will work on the realization of some upcoming fashion shoots and films. Right now I am working on a shoot for one of the next issues of Vogue France. With my last installation at Palais de Tokyo in Paris, I got the most beautiful compliment from a guy saying he would love to meditate in my installation, so I am planning on doing more art installations in different cities and countries, including the local nature and cultures.

SV: What’s your dream project?
Nini Gollong:
I would love to do an art installation at Haus der Kunst in my hometown of Munich to show my friends and family what my actual installations are like. My installations are hard to capture in pictures, because I am working with all senses. So the music, the smell, the lighting and the whole energy, it's very hard to get that via pictures alone.

SV: What do you wish you had created?
Nini Gollong:
 I wish I had worked on one of the fascinating sets of Tim Walker’s shoots. He is actually the reason why I came to do set and prop styling. One day I discovered his first book in a bookstore in Munich and was glad my whole family gave it to me as my Christmas present as I could not afford it by myself.

SV: Who’s Munich based artist’s work or art would you recommend on checking out?
Nini Gollong:
Michael Seidl aka Acapulco, part of the Munich collaboration Paintuition is my favorite Munich artist. His paintings deal with the decisions of life and the visualization of hope. Not only that, but he is a really positive, profound and very special person, his work is imposing from the first sight. 

Portrait by Nat Urazmetova (1),installation at the Palais de Tokyo by Thomas Lachambre (2), installation at L'Eclaireur (3), Axl Jansen (4), Kira Lillie (5), Azzedine Alaïa A/W 2012 by Karim Sadli (6), Stefan Milev (7), Pierre Balmain A/W 2012 by Indlekofer and Knoepfel (8), Vogue Italy September 2012 by Ellen von Unwerth (9)

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