German, b. 1971, Emsdetten, Germany, based in London, United Kingdom
Through elegant, evocative, and slyly humorous sculptures, installations, photographs, and collages, Nicole Wermers investigates the structure of our built environment and its effect on our lives. She concentrates primarily on public spaces—including restaurants, museums, shopping malls, and other urban locales—cleverly referencing the way they are shaped both by their designers and their eventual users. In her exquisitely composed works, art history (especially the Modern period) and high culture meet mass marketing and consumerism. For example, she has created a series of freestanding portals out of variously shaped and configured pieces of metal, which recall both the formal considerations of modernist sculpture and airport security gates. When invited to artistically intervene in Tate Britain’s refurbished café, Wermers responded by crafting a double-bowled spoon whose design was based on various modernist prototypes.