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In his work, Nic Hess interweaves motifs derived from the dismantling of materials of various origins into new pictorial units in a manner that is both precise in terms of craftsmanship and intellectually sharp-sensed.


An elaborate process of disassembly releases (brand) symbols, logos and pictograms of a universal consumer culture, but also icons from politics and cultural history from their original contexts. Hess continuously draws from this comprehensive pool of images to generate new contexts of meaning and pointed pictorial statements, which sometimes extend object-like into three-dimensionality and relate directly to the immediate spatial conditions in clearly balanced installations.


Nic Hess’s undogmatic combinatorics, a refined combination of elements from contrary reference systems. A a wall covered with intricate curves made of tape stands a pedestal with a lying chicken hatching an egg. This obvious incongruity, reminiscent of the figure of a changeling, has an ominous, or at least unsettling, sense of an order out of joint: both as a laconic commentary on social issues of diversity, distinction, and discrimination, and as an allusion to current conflict situations in world politics, in which the boundaries between one’s own and the other are drawn sharply and even by warlike means.


On the one hand, they are disposable goods from China that are disposed of after a single use. On the other hand, Hess uses or recycles exactly the surgical utensils that the doctor used during an operation on himself and then gave to him. Arranged in a star shape, the different sizes and degrees of opening of the scissors result in a superordinate ornamental cross shape that emerges as a macabre self-portrait.

Selected Artworks

All inclusive
Southparc, 2019
Nic Hess
Icons will survive 2007
Icons will survive


Born              Switzerland, 1968

Education      1992 – 1996 Gerrit Rieveld Academie, Amsterdam and Hdk Berlin

Resides         Lives and works in Zurich, Switzerland

Solo Exhibitions

2024              Alles. Einmal. Grieder Contemporary, Zürich
2022              FERDINAND, PhilippvonRosen Galerie, Cologne

2019              Neue Arbeiten, Ziegler Galerie Zürich

2018              Mit und ohne Bart  Philipp von Rosen Galerie, Köln
2016              Zulieferer unter Druck Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg

2015              Der Stoff aus dem die Träume waren Kunsthalle Münster

                      Grosser Fahrplan für eine kleine Stadt  Grieder Contemporary, Zürich
2014              Archivo teatralico, Galerie Figge von Rosen, Berlin

2013              ein Titel muss her, Kunststation, städtische Galerie Wolfsburg

                      Highways and byways. together again. Damiler Contemporary, Berlin

2012              Grieder Contemporary, Zurich

2011              Figge von Rosen Galerie, Berlin
2009              Automatic Crash Response, Armand Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

                      Dont Sorry, Figge von Rosen Galerie, Koeln
2008              Sculpures, The Project, New York

2007              Trader Joe and Alberts’ son, Galerie Figgevonrosen, Köln

                      Food4Less, Museo de Zapopan, Guadalajara, Mexico

                      I would eat them anywhere, Arndt & Partner, Zürich

                      Positions, ART Basel/Miami, Galerie Figgevonrosen, Köln

2006              Early Bird, Galerie Jesco von Puttkamer, Berlin

                      Walls/Muri mit Frederico Herrero, Fondazione Bevilacqua, Venedig

                      Rice-Fields and Bushes, Casa del lago, Mexico City

2005              Dreaming of el A, The Project, Los Angeles       

                      Pic Nic Hess, Projectile Gallery, New York

                      Proxima estacion, ADN Galeria, Barcelona (Fokus Switzerland)

2004              Guten Morgen Deutschland, Haus der Kunst, München

                      Triple Treat, The Project, Los Angeles

2003              Who Bites First?  Viafarini, Milano

                      Modern Art Inc., London

                      Logo, Swiss Institute, New York

                      Berlin-New York (with Emmanuelle Antille) Kunsthaus Baselland, Muttenz,

2002              NYCS, Galerie griedervonputtkamer, Berlin

                      To the MANOR born, Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Winterthur

                      greyhounds, OPA (Officina de Proyectos de Arte) Guadalajara, Mexico

2001              Well Done, The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland

                      ART BASEL 32, Basel, Art Statements, Serge Ziegler Galerie

2000              Dolly II, Kunstwerke, Berlin

                      it’s a men’s world , Serge Ziegler Galerie, Zürich

                      Swinging Swindle, Queens Museum of Art, Queens, NY

                      Stadionneubau, Galerie griedervonputtkamer, Berlin

                      Together now, The Drawing Center, New York

                      Quiero Casarme, The Project, New York

1999              Transit 21, Kunsthalle St. Gallen, (mit Kerim Seiler)

1998              ohne Tiere, Galerie Walcheturm, Zürich

                      mit Tiere, Galerie Serge Ziegler, Zürich

1997              Mosaik des Fernfahrers, ’Space’ Ankerstrasse, Zürich

1996              Race dogs just starting, Arena Amsterdam

Selected Group Exhibitions

2022              Last words from the Periphery, Werkerei Schwamendingen, 
Curated by Rocco de Filippo)

2020              Sommer des Zögerns/Summer of Suspense,  Kunsthalle Zürich 
           (Curated by Mattew Hanson and Daniel Baumann)

                      Made in Zurich Grieder Contemporary, Küsnacht
2019              Make Zurich small again  KUPPER MODERN (Curated by Alain Kupper) 

2018              Neuer Norden Zürich (curated bei Christoph Doswald)

                      Trains & Boats & Planes  Galerie MAISTERRVALBUENA, Lisboa
2015              ARTER foundation, Istanbul

2013              BUNT! Gluri Suter Huus, Wettingen

2012              Football, Museo de arte Contemporano MARCO, Monterrey, Mexico
                      (curated by Patrick Charpenel)

2011              Art Stars and cars, Mercedes Benz Museum, Stuttgart  (curated by Renate Wiehager)

                      Fuerzas Basicas, Museo de la Ciudad, Guadalajara (curated by Lorena Pena Brito)
2010              Pictures about Pictures, MUMOK (Museum Moderner Kunst in Vienna)

                      Curated by Dr. Renate Wiehager

2009              Schloss Ringenberg

2008              Flow, Centro Cultural Andratx, Majorca (curated by Pau wealder)

                      Balls and Brains, Helmhaus Zurich  (curated by Simon Maurer)
2007              Minimalism and applied, DaimlerChrysler-Collection, Berlin

2006              Zeichen der Bewegung, Seedamm Kulturzentrum, Pfäffikon

                      Branding, Centre Pasquart, Biel

                      Visioni del Paradiso, Instituto Svizzero, Roma

                      Untitled, Grieder Contemporary, Zürich

                      All the Best- the Deutsche Bank Collection, Singapore Art Museum

                      Piktogramme- Die Einsamkeit der Zeichen, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart

                      Experiments in Pop, Paul Klee Center, Bern
2005              Lichtkunst aus Kunstlicht, ZKM Karlsruhe
                      Grafische Sammlung ETH Zürich, Helmhaus Zürich

2004              Gegen den Strich, Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, in Zusammenarbeit
           mit dem SIEMENS ARTS PROGRAM

2003              Buenos Dias Buenos Aires, Museo de Arte Moderno, Buenos Aires

                      The Squared Circle, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

                      Urban Diaries: Young Swiss Art, Alcalá 31, Contemporary Art Center, Madrid

2002              Im Zeichen der Bewegung, Kunstmuseum, Bern

                      Ikonen. Kunst und Kult, Coninx Museum, Zürich

                      Baltic Biennial, Vilnius, Latvia

                      Culture meets Culture, Busan Biennal, Busan, South-Korea

                      JUMEX-Collection, Mexico City, Mexico

                      Wallow, (with Julie Mehretu), The Project, New York

                      Listening to New Voices, PS.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York

2001              Casino 2001, 1st Quadrennial of Contemporary Art, S.M.A.K., 
              Stedelijk Museum voor actuele Kunst, Gent

Public Collections

Hammer Museum, Los Angeles
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich
Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland
Kunsthaus Zürich 
Kantonalbank Zürich
Sammlung Bank Cantrade, Zürich
Dow Chemical, Zürich
JUMEX Collection, Mexico City, Mexico
Sammlung MANOR, Switzerland
Amt für Arbeit und Wirtschaft des Kantons Zürich
Kanton Zürich
Universität Zürich
Sammlung DaimlerChrysler, Switzerland/Deutschland
Collection OMNILIFE S.A., Guadalajara, Mexico
Museo de Zapopan, Guadalajara, Mexiko
Sammlung der Nationalbank Zürich
The British Land Company    
Collection Deutsche Bank
Kunstmuseum Stuttgart
Bundesmedienhaus, Bern
Swiss Re, Zuerich
Schweizerische Nationalbank
Ernst & Young, Zürich
Montblanc Kulturstiftung, Hamburg
Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg
Museum für Kommunikation, Bern
Sammlung Andra Lauffs-Wegner


2013              Novecento mai visto – Highlights from the Daimler Art Collection. Exh. cat.

                      Daimler Art Collection. Text by Renate Wiehager and Christian 

                      Ganzenberg. Brescia 2013.

                      highways and byways. together again. Artist booklet on the occasion

                      of the same-named exhibition. Text by Christian Ganzenberg,

                      Daimler Contemporary. Berlin 

                      highways and byways. together again. Exh. brochure on the occasion of

                      the same-named exhibition. Text by Renate Wiehager, Daimler

                      Contemporary. Berlin 2013.

2012              Neon parallax Genève (2006–2012): un projet des Fonds d’art

                      contemporain de la ville et du canton de Genève. Text by Renaud

                      Proch. Gollion 2012.

2011              Art & Stars & Cars. Exh. cat. Daimler Art Collection at Mercedes-Benz

                      Museum, Stuttgart. Text by Renate Wiehager. Stuttgart 2011.
2010              Voici un dessin suisse – Schweizer Zeichnung: 1990–2010.

                      Exh. cat. Musée Rath, Geneva. Zurich 2010.

2009              Nic Hess. Automatic Crash Response – Hammer Projects.

                      Exh. cat. Armand Hammer Museum. Los Angeles 2009.*

                      Julius Baer Art Collection. Exhibitions featuring works from the

                      Julius Baer Art Collection. St. Moritz Art Masters. St. Moritz 2009.

                      Blitzen Benz BANG – Daimler Art Collection: Mixed Media,

                      Sculptures, Commissioned Works. Text by Renate Wiehager.

                      Ostfildern-Ruit 2009.

2008              Nic Hess – Don’t sorry. Exh. brochure on the occasion of the

                      same-named exhibition at Figge von Rosen Galerie. Cologne 2008.*

2007              Nic Hess –Trader Joe and Albert’s son. Exh. brochure on the

                      occasion of the same-named exhibition at Figge von Rosen

                      Galerie. Cologne 2007.*

                      Minimal and Applied. Objects for imaginative and real use. Exh.

                      cat. Daimler Contemporary. Berlin 2007.

2006              Walls/Muri. Exh. cat. Galleria Bevilaqua La Masa, Fondazione

                      Bevilaqua. Texts by Angela Vettese, Marinella Venanzi, Carmen Juìa,

                      and Stephanie Rosenthal. Venice 2006.*

                      Branding: das Kunstwerk zwischen Authentizität und Aura, Kritik und

                      Kalkül. Exh. cat. Centre PasquArt Biel, Nuremberg 2006.

                      2003–2005 Centre Culturel Suisse. Centre Culturel Suisse Paris.

                      Zurich 2006.

                      Piktogramme – Die Einsamkeit der Zeichen. Exh. cat.

                      Kunstmuseum Stuttgart. Texts by Marion Ackermann and

                      Cara Schweitzer. Munich/Berlin 2006.

                      Lichtkunst aus Kunstlicht: Licht als Medium der Kunst im 20.

                      und 21. Jahrhundert. Exh. cat. ZKM Karlsruhe. Ostfildern-Ruit 2006.

                      Vom Schweifen der Linien: zeitgenössische Zeichnungspositionen.

                      Exh. cat. Seedamm-Kulturzentrum, Bulletin 75. Pfäffikon 2006.

2005              Schweizer Druckgraphik des 20. Jahrhunderts – Graphische

                      Sammlung der ETH Zürich. Text by Bernadette Walter. Basel 2005.

2004              Guten Morgen Deutschland!. Audio-CD with fold-out poster

                      on the occasion of the exhibition at Haus der Kunst, Munich 2004.*

                      INSERT. Easter Sports Syndrom by Nic Hess, in: Parkett, no. 70, 2004. *

                      Gegen den Strich – neue Formen der Zeichnung. Exh. cat.

                      Kunsthalle Baden-Baden. Nuremberg 2004.

                      Buenos dias Buenos Aires – Arte contemporáneo suizo.

                      Exh. cat. Museo Arte Moderno Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires 2004.

2003              My life with Frankie & Tony, in: NB – New York/Berlin, Nic Hess

                      und Emmanuelle Antille. Exh. cat. Kunsthaus Baselland. Muttenz 2003. *

                      Urban diaries: young Swiss art. Exh. cat. Alcalá 31,

                      Consejería de las Artes. Madrid 2003.
2002              51 views from Mount Matterhorn. Ed. by Christoph Doswald.

                      Texts by Christoph Doswald, Wimm Jetten and Beat Santschi.

                      Ostfildern-Ruit 2002.*

                      Im Zeichen der Bewegung: Schweizer Zeichnungen der Gegenwart

                      aus der graphischen Sammlung Kunstmuseum Bern.

                      Exh. cat. Kunstmuseum Bern. Text by Nicole Schweizer. Bern 2002

2001              Milano Europa 2000. Fine secolo; i semi del futuro. Exh. cat.

                      Triennale di Milano. Milan 2001.

                      Casino 2001. 1st Quadrennial for Contemporary Art. Exh. cat.

                      S.M.A.K. Gent. Ghent 2001.

2000              Nic Hess. Together Now. Exh. cat. The Drawing Center, Drawing

                      Papers no. 5. Text by Elizabeth Finch. New York 2000.*

                      Out of Space. Exh. cat. Kunstmuseum Thun. Text by

                      Madeleine Schuppli. Thun 2000.

                      Franz Gratwohl – Nic Hess – Daniel Lorenzi – Zilla Leutenegger –

                      Hannes Rickli – Karoline Schreiber – Pascale Wiedemann.

                      Foundation Binz 39, documentation 1998–1999. Zurich 2000.

1999              Nic Hess. Cahier d’artistes. Pro Helvetia Arts Council of Switzerland.

                      Texts by Dorothea Strauss and Rein Wolfs. Baden 1999.*

                      Peace. Exh. cat. Migros Museum fur Gegenwartskunst. Zurich 1999.

                      Nic Hess & Kerim Seiler: Vernissage, Exh. cat. Verein Kunsthalle

                      St. Gallen, Sankt Gallen 1999.

Prizes and Grants

2010              Studiogrant Landis & Gyr, London
2009              NEON, Place de Planpalais, Geneva
2002              Manor Grant of Zurich City, Zurich 
2001              P.S.1 International Studio Program, New York
                      Grant of Zurich City, Zurich 
                      Cantrade Art Prize,Cultural Foundation, Zurich
2000              Grant of Zurich City, Zurich 

                      Swiss Art Award
1999              Swiss Art Award
1998              Studio grant Foundation BINZ 39, Zurich

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