Nina Saunders is a Danish artist who currently lives and works in London. Born in 1958, Saunders graduated from Central St. Martin’s College of Art and Design in 1991. Her sculptures are created from a range of media, including textiles and taxidermy, and have a dual quality of being humorous and contemplative at the same time. Saunders is best known for her sculptural transformations of furniture and textiles with an anthropomorphic quality. A self-taught upholsterer, she unleashes her creativity and quirky ideas in her labor intensive sculptures. Many of her pieces start out as discarded chairs, often sourced from auctions, second-hand stores or even street corners. As the artist explains, “I like using things that already have a story. I love stories.”
To Saunders, domestic objects and our relationship with them raise myriad questions relating to behavior, class and perception. She enjoys manipulating the everyday and exploring the ways in which our bodies relate to furniture even before our minds can stir into action. “My work is kind of confrontational and it always has been,” says the artist. Political and social concerns underpin many of her pieces, which tread a delicate line between humour and dark observation. Her retrospective show at the KUNSTEN Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg, Denmark (2017), for example, featured pieces dealing with conflict and the plight of refugees.
As well as having received several public commissions, her works have been widely exhibited in the UK and her home country, Denmark, as well as other parts of Europe. Saunders was chosen to represent Denmark and the Nordic region in the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009.
She has also created artworks for the Hermes flagship stores in New York, Los Angeles and Dubai
Her work can be found in the permanent collections of many international institutions including the Arts Council Collection, Hayward Gallery, London; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Malmö Konstmuseum, Sweden; Esbjerg Kunstmuseum, Denmark; Horsens Kunstmuseum, Denmark; and Coleccion Berge, Madrid.