Interview with Abstract Painter Dagmar Dost-Nolden

Dagmar Dost-Nolden is a painter, sculptor and performer. She is fascinated by different forms of energy, which is the main subject of her art. Born in Prague, Czech Republic, she studied at the Academy of fine Arts having gained her masters with award. The artist has been living in Germany, Cologne, for more then 30 years and her art is radically subjective, individual and free, not accepting any exact art category. Often there is a fusion between painting and sculpture, environment, space, abstraction and figuration. We interview the painter.

A: You are due to exhibit at both the Shanghai Art fair in China and the Red Dot Art fair in Miami, tell us about the work you are showcasing.

At the Shanghai Art Fair, I will be showing The First 4,  2012. It was made especially for my solo exhibition at Burgh House & Hampstead Museum in London. I was inspired by the Olympic Games that year, and was thinking about all of the effort and pressure in trying to be the “first” at everything, and about the general significance of “firsts”. We mostly remember our these “firsts” (first love, first kiss, etc). This idea grew from my questioning the reason behind its importance. At the Art Fair Red Dot in Miami,  Besides Offering, 2014 will be shown. It is about the dynamic of life, and our attempts to control its many aspects. I was investigating where this can lead – to disaster, happiness, or both . I will be represented by Gallery Steiner from Vienna, Austria.

A: How did you first begin to develop your unique style?

My style has developed partly quite alone, organically. Already as a child I loved to watch the clouds moving while changing their forms. Big trees with their shadows swaying in wind were fascinating. I was able to watch them for hours, trying to capture their movement in my drawings. It awoke my early imagination, I guess. From the ages of 14-20 I was very interested in recording human motion in simple, fast yet expressive lines. I would constantly make small drawings of people walking, sitting or dancing. I studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, Czech Republic. The base was at first rather classical, figurative, and I am very glad for that. Later we were free to develop our own style. My Professor Jan Smetana, was a progressive abstract painter who encouraged us to find our own way in art. Ones came the point where one thinks about what they are doing, why, and where it should lead. I was reviewing my works and found that it was the movement that was typically present throughout. So I thought this was really me, and that this was the direction in which I should develop. I have been influenced by many things over the years.

A: One of your inspirations is Jackson Pollock, who famously took a spontaneous approach to painting. Do you plan out your work beforehand or is it a more random process?

It was at the library of the Academy that I saw the paintings of Jackson Pollock for the first time. We were taight to be rather quite, not very spontaneous. This was the real opposite: Pollock was wild, a pure explosion of freedom of expression. He was much near to me than anything else, but somehow did not fit in the Czech culture of that time. I felt that I too needed the full freedom in art as well as in my life. The library had many wonderful books of art, which made me curious to see all that in reality. The desire grew to get more involved, to be a part of the international art society.

The visible spontaneity and purity of personal expression in Pollock’s work was what gave me courage to produce my own individual art. I knew I had to find my own way, which would come from my own inner impulses. My art is a part of my life.  There are plans which sometimes work immediately and other times need corrections and changes. The result is important. It should work visualyl, without the need for complicated explanations. One could also say that I have a concept: the steady movement of energy in its many different forms, fused with spontaneity and expression. Essentially, the head, hand and heart working in unison.

A: What are your future goals and ambitions as an artist?

I have exhibited in many  galleries and museums internationally, but I would also like to ultimately show my work in leading museum worldwide, such as Tate Modern in London, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

View more of Dagmar’s work at

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1. Dagmar Dost-Nolden, The First 4, 2012. Courtesy of the artist.