The New York Optimist
The Stop-Gap between here and Ragnarök.
The work of Michael Nitsche.

I immediately come to a “stop” when I’m about to enter a show with a title unabashedly appropriated from
an iconic emblem of the music industry in the states. It tells me, “Stay away ‘cause it ain’t your favourite
doing the beastie with some hotties the way you like it in your dreams”.  Most likely it’s some schmuck
grunt artist from some crack east of here that had to strap-on content because it wasn’t there to begin with.
Animals meticulously rendered  in porcelain stacked vertically in descending
size and a large shark were pivotal in naming the age that jumpstarted trends
contemporary art in the 90s and epitomized an obsession with manufacturing
and sensationalising aptitude which is the profile of any “stick”-size competition.
Yet these works remain water marks for many that will never achieve such
illusions of grandeur and remain coughing on the exhaust from the thrust of
these works due to a lack of perversion and defect.
Alexander Viscio
Artist Michael Nitsche
Entering “NO SLEEP ‘TIL RAGNARÖK” here in Wien at
the Michaela Stock Galerie, the German artist Michael Nitsche
presented a goat balancing a skull on its head with a monkey
on it’s back blowing a “bazooka” size toxic bubble harnessing
a big stick just in case its ride needed motivation. Another
smaller primate with a rather maniacal grin swings from the
underside of a mammoth shark that portrays the qualities in
its form that illustrate what would happen if you were to take
that “other shark” of equal dimensions out of its illustrious
tank of phemadihyde.
What might have easily passed for a menagerie of stuff animals
smothered in a thick, heavy coat of   syrupy goo,
like enlarged over
confectionary figurines prancing through the unassuming consumers’
holiday shopping spree, suddenly became players in someone’s dream-
scape after a nights’ binge of Kaisewurst und Punsch with all the
trappings to snare your apprehensions of cannibalism, natures’ un
repentant food chain scenarios and sex between unlikely species that
would normally be at war with each other. With all the ordinary tools
and materials one sets out to produce craft, Michael Nitsche wedges in a
stop-gap that expels the cognition of charm and replaces it with a fetish
for the tactile attributes of an unnatural order of demonic fiends at
serious play.
Michael’s work contains all the blessings of fault
and error.
His passion for the materials he uses
(paraffin being the stabilizing agent), camouflage
his inabilities for representation though within
the failure to make a butterfly-a dangerous
underbelly of nerve and energy applied with
unapologetic abandonment-enters a dragon fly
with a disposition that bolsters a hideous stinger
no less intriguing and befitting the occasion. In
fact nearly all these vagrants of reverie are
packing heat in one form or another with an
insatiable agenda for deviance and carnage.
This can all be part and parcel to the artists’ own personal search in his hunt for solace from the
isolation one can feel in dreams that can be as polarising as they can be a unification of the
psyche. It may account for the whimsical placement of certain attributes of anatomy and
composition springing up in the work that alerts the viewer of the potential for confrontation and
consequence should one penetrate the membrane that separates the pray from the predator, or
the dreamer from the dream becoming a hybrid incarnation of the residual violence of loneliness
endured. The threat of being quarantined with ones’ anxieties not being challenged by a
formidable measure of lucidity would regulate this ensemble as a cache of subjective collectables  
were it not for the deftness in the way Michael handles his materials and the derisive hook-back
that underwrite the work.
I never found out where RAGNARÖK is. I Googled
it of course, this I can do on my 92 year old Insperon
1100. Instead I discovered an online database/game
that offers dungeon entrance walk-throughs, explains
how to make Valkyine Heim ungodly and offers
instructions how to escape from a bear. And after
just a few minutes I realized this was a conundrum
that wasn’t going to lead to additional material that
would bring further light to the creative processes of
Micheal Nitsche. Because I wasn’t convinced that
this would be his primary external source of imagery I
was confident that the drive behind the work was
intrinsically personal/internal with all the
idiosyncrasies parlayed by sound studio
fundamentals in eliciting emotional engagement from
the viewer and decided that I wasn’t going to lose
any sleep over it, though I still can’t stand seeing my
A-list of music hits pimped-out into a title for an art

Alexander Viscio.

All photos courtesy of Michaela Stock
Galerie, and Michael Nitsche
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