Nils Mühlenbruch

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©2024 NM


Drifter TV studio
Haparandadam 7 D9
KVK 34148189


In late 2022, I began working spontaneously, for no specific reason, on a series of semi-abstract drawings. I used my i-Pad to quickly sketch out some ideas and discovered that this way of drawing is reminiscent of accelerated video’s of the life cycle of plants. 

You’ve probably seen one of those documentaries where a tiny sprout jerkily rises from the ground, branches smoothly, blooms briefly and shrivels away. 
Also in the creation of my semi-abstract work, the initial ‘idea’ is no more than a seed, a small and as yet undefined network of shapes and colors that must be nurtured to reach maturity. My curiosity about how such a seminal beginning can develop by allowing it to grow freely
- not predetermining the outcome - led to a series of drawings that can best be described as a fusion of organic and vegetal forms with more mechanical and architectural structures.

    After this initial, digital phase, I rediscovered the pleasure and possibilities of drawing on paper with pencil. It takes time to visualize patterns on a blank sheet just by scratching the surface with a pointed tip. (Not to mention the constant need to sharpen the pencil!) But it is precisely that physical and gradual process of creation that gives the work its uniqueness. Although you can think of the drawings as finished products, they are also snapshots of something still in the making. In that sense, the drawings can be compared to film stills, which have aesthetic power in their own right but at the same time are part of a larger whole.


My partly organic, partly architectural structures, as I called them above, proliferate across the paper like weeds. If you look at them closely, you discover a second layer, created by the grainy skin over which the colored pencils move back and forth. This texture is part of the drawing paper I use, which has a smooth front, but is coarser on the back. The drawing itself I do mainly with aquarelle pencils because I sometimes mix the colors with water and then complete the work with a brush. In a number of works I made a preliminary layer of (washed) Indian ink: by diluting the ink with water I create a somewhat blotchy layer that I draw over. That layer disappears when the drawing is finished, but the jagged ink spots can suggest ‘possible shapes’, something on which the Rorschach method is also based.

    I talked earlier about semi-abstract drawing, which means that there must also be figurative elements in the work. That’s right! Japanese manga culture strongly influenced me, especially manga master Katsuhiro Otomo (famous from Akira), in whose work you’ll find many examples of uncontrollably growing flesh and technological mutations: an entanglement of man and machine. Swiss artist Hansruedi Giger is also undeniably an inspiration, his designs for the sf film Alien have been legendary and highly influential in the world of ‘bio mechanics’.