Straight from the Brain by NUG
18th March – 12th April, 2016





Who is NUG?
NUG or Magnus Gustafsson is a Swedish artist with roots in graffiti culture; he works with video, painting and also composes electronic music. His second solo show Straight from the Brain at Gallery Steinsland Berliner. The opening reception is on March 18 and the show runs until April 16, 2016.

What is his background?
He studied at the University College of Arts, Craft and Design – Konstfack and graduated with a Master of Fine Art in 2008. He has been an active graffiti artist since the early 1980’s. NUG became known to a wider audience in 2009, when his video work Territorial Pissing created a media storm – involving the then Minister of Culture in a opinionated discussion whether his work was art or not. The video where shown at Market Art Fair by Galleri Brändström and showed a masked figure going at it with a spray can inside a subway car. The Minister of Culture did not think this was art. However the events that took place then started the discussion regarding authenticity and anonymity surrounding NUG’s artistic practice.

How has these discussions influenced his art?
The short answer to this would be – not at all. The simple reason being that NUG does not read what is written about him. He does not give interviews and for a long time, his real identity was not known at all. People have described him as a Phantom blot – or an art-ninja, masked and always dressed in black. The character can be seen in many of his video works, yet we cannot be sure that it is the artist himself we are looking at. The reason to his anonymity is maybe as simple a lack of interest to be in the spotlight.

How does he work with spatiality?
Looking at NUG’s way of working where the spray paint is playing the leading role but it is his presence that can be felt. That stays long after the artist leaves the gallery. The traces of his performativity working methods are almost like a dance. The viewer is left with fantasies of what actually took place. NUG’s movement in the gallery makes the audience wish that we where invited to view the live show. 

What can we expect from Straight from the Brain?
His exhibitions are always about a feeling, movement and energy. It is about the moment when it is being created. Straight from the Brain will give us NUG where he is today, if that means paintings, photographs or video – we will have to wait and see. 

Where has his work been shown before?
His work has been shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles at Foundation Cartier in Paris, at Hudson Museum in Rotterdam, at Kulturhuset in Stockholm and in Kunsthalles around Sweden, such as Örebro and Sundsvall. He has participated in public commissions, latest one in Slussen in Stockholm. NUG’s art has also been exhibited in galleries around Europe such as at Galerie Anhava in Helsinki, at Galerie Gabriel Rolt in Amsterdam and at Gabriele Senn Galerie in Vienna.

Text by: Hanna Wörman

Straight from the Brain will be open until 16 April 2016.