About

Nikolai Nelles is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Berlin. His artistic practice oscillates between media and fine art, documentary filmmaking and cultural activism. It reflects on the absurdity of the human conditions and deals with issues arising through hegemonic and neo-colonial power structures and representations between the Global South and North as well as with the various facets of war and its aftermath. This artistic practice is research-based and interferes in social infrastructures by misbehaviour performances or challenges institutions through civil disobedience, challenging the limits of creative freedom. He pursues a critical re-evaluation of actual cultural commons, the power of representation through material objects of other cultures, their digital image as well as the concepts of heritage and identity politics.
He graduated from Offenbach University of Art and Design in 2011. In the past, he founded an independent ‘project space’ in Frankfurt/Main, Germany, and co-founded a photography magazine. Since 2009 he frequantly works as an artist duo with Nora Al-Badri.
His work was featured at The New York Times, BBC, The Times, Artnet, Wired, Le Monde Afrique, Financial Times, Arte TV, The Independent, New Statesmen, Hyperallergic, Smithsonian, Al Ahram, Egypt Today, Vice, Hürriyet, Dezeen, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, Spiegel Online, Heise, The Boston Globe, Dezeen, Archdaily, Polska, La information, De Volkskrant, Gizmodo, New Scientist, Popular Science, The Verge amongst others.
His works were granted by several institutions: Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), Goethe-Institute, Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (IfA), German Federal Foreign Office and European Cultural Foundation (ECF).


Lecturing, Teaching and Curating

2016-today curating the Arts & Culture Track of the Chaos Communication Congress, Leipzig, Germany

2018 Lecture, Postcolonial Digital Connections,Center for Interdisciplinary Area Studies (ZIRS) at Halle University and UCL Department of Anthropology

2018 Lecture, Nefertiti Hack and Virtual Heritage in GLAM Institutions. Europeana Tech Conference, Rotterdam  

2018 Panel Discussion with British Museum and V&A, Warburg Institute and Central Saint Martins College, London

2018 Lecture, Sensorium festival, Brativlava, Slowakei

2018 Lecture, Resonate festival, Belgrad, Serbien

2018 Lecture,  Rokolectiv Festival, Bukarest, Rumänien

2017 Lecture, The Influencers festival, Barcelona, Spain

2017 Artist Talk, Foundation Telefonica, Lima, Peru

2017 Lecture and Workshop, FH Joanneum, University of Applied Sciences, Graz, Switzerland

2017 panel discussion, Abandon Normal Devices festival, Manchester, GB

2017 panel discussion, Copyright as Frame and Prison, Birmingham, GB

2017 Lecture and Artist Talk, Drugo More, Croatia

2017 Identitätspolitik und Kunst: Der Kampf um das Ich, Good to talk with Monopol Magazine, Berghain Kantine, Berlin

2017 Lecture, Migros Foundation: On the public domain, Basel, Switzerland

2017 Keynote lecture, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, sharecarex

2017 Symposium “Fossil Futures. Decolonizing Dinosaurs” with Prof. W.J.T. Mitchell and Denny Gayton/ Standing Rock at Techne Institute, University of Buffalo, Buffalo, USA

2017 Artist talk, Gray Area Festival Art & Technology, San Francisco, USA

2017 Artist talk, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, USA

2016 Keynote at Statens Museum for Kunst, Educational Perspectives in CHI's in a Digital Age, Copenhagen

2016 Discussing Postcolonial Computing, Workshop, Chaos Communication Congress, Hamburg

2016 Artist talk, Observe!, Boell Foundation, Berlin

2016 Keynote lecture, Hack4DK- Hack your Heritage, The Agency for Culture and Palaces, Copenhagen 

2016 Lightning Talk, Unlearning the Given – Exercises in Demodernity and Decoloniality of Ideas and Knowledge, SAVVY, Berlin

2016 Presentation for students, Villa Arson, Nice

2016 Lecture, SIPPA - Salon International des Professionnels des Patrimoines Arles, France

2016 Summerschool, for students University of Buffalo, USA in Berlin

2016 Lecture, on #NefertitiHack at FOSSASIA Conference, Singapore

2015 Lecture, Nefertiti Hack “The Mummy Unwrapped”, Chaos Communication Camp 32C3, Hamburg 

2015 The Other Nefertiti symposium with Prof. Susanne Leeb (Leuphana Uni), Simon Njami, Dr. Monica Hanna, Alexander Koch (KOW) Goethe Institute, Cairo



SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

2019 upcoming
            Group exhibition, Victoria&Albert Museum, London


2018    Group exhibition, Walk&Talk Public Art Circuit, Azores

2018    Drehmoment. Das Produktionskunst-Festival, Stuttgart

2018    Pendoran Vinci. Kunst und künstliche Intelligenz heute,
NRW Forum, Düsseldorf

2018     FAKE, Science Gallery, Dublin

2018     ‘Open Codes’, ZKM, Karlsruhe

2018     ‘Metadata. How We Relate to Images’, Warburg Institute and Lethaby Gallery, London

2018     Performersion- Re:publica, Berlin

2017     ‘Networking the Unseen’ Villa Merkel,  Esslingen

2017     ‘3. Berliner Herbstsalon’, Gorki Theater, Berlin

2017     20th anniversary of faces at Schaumbad, Graz

2017     Abandon Normal Devices, Manchester

2017     Solo exhibition, Aksioma - Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana

2017     When Machines are Dreaming’, Datenspuren Festival Chaos Computer Club, Dresden

2017     ‘Indexmakers’, Centre régional d’art contemporain, Montbélliard

2017     Solo exhibition, NOME Galerie, Berlin

2017-2018     ‘3D. Printing the World’, Space Fundación Telefónica, Madrid, Spain / Lima,Peru / Buenos Aires, Argentina / Santiago, Chile, Mexico City, Mexico

2017     Gray Area Festival Art& Technology, San Francisco, USA

2017     ‘No Copyright Infringement Intended’, Vivid Projects, Birmingham and Phoenix, Leicester

2017     ‘Evidentiary Realism’, curated by Paolo Cirio, Fridman Gallery and NOME Galerie, New York City / Berlin

2017     ‘Flow of Forms / Forms of Flow’, Museum Fünf Kontinente, München

2016     ‘Are we human?’, 3rd Design Biennal, curated by Anselm Franke, Istanbul

2016     ‘A World of Fragile Parts’ by Viktoria and Albert Museum, Applied Arts Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia

2016    ‘Un•or•tho•dox’ with Group Bouillon, with Joanna Warsza, Uqbar, Berlin

2015     ‘The Other Nefertiti’, Something Else Off Biennale curated by Simon Njami, Cairo

2015     ‘We Refugees’, Millerntor Gallery, Hamburg

2015     ‘The Heavy Petting Gallery’, Kreuzberg Pavillon, Berlin

2015     ‘We Refugees’, solo exhibition, Galerie Salon Petra Rietz, Berlin

2014     ‘Existence in Transition’, Federal Foreign Office, Berlin

2014     ‘Revolution’, Kunstverein Tiergarten/ Galerie Nord, Berlin

2014     ‘Living Equestrian Statues’, solo exhibition, Team Titanic, Berlin

2013     ‘Artivists for Change’ intervention Biennale 4 Thessaloniki, Greece

2013     ‘Nuda Veritas’ street-art intervention, Tahrir Square Cairo, Egypt

2012     ‘Spieglein, Spieglein..’, group exhibition, Fotografie Forum Frankfurt

2012     Rundgang Hochschule für Gestaltung, Offenbach am Main

2012     Darmstädter Tage der Fotografie, group exhibition, Darmstadt

2011     ‘Herrscherbilder und politische Kommunikation’, GIZ, Frankfurt

2011     ‘Der Tycoon’, guerilla placarding at Occupy EZB, Frankfurt


Grants and Residencies

2017 Schloss Solitude Web Residency/ ZKM Karlsruhe with “NefertitiBot”

2017 Artist scholarship, City of Berlin/Senate

2017 Longlist Preis der Deutschen Nationalgalerie

2017 Research Grant Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW)

2017 Artists in Residence, Techne Institute, Buffalo University, USA

2015 Grant Goethe Institute Cairo, The Other Nefertiti exhibition / travel grant

2015 Travel Grant European Cultural Foundation

2015 Grant Federal Foreign Office, art in public space project in Georgia, Tbilisi

2013 Grant ‚Künstlerkontakte’ from IfA-Institute

2013 Artivists for Change (Goethe Institute and European Cultural Foundatio