Berndnaut Smilde

Netherlands 1978

Installation, Sculpture, Photography

Berndnaut Smilde
Berndnaut Smilde
November 16, 2015

Berndnaut Smilde is a Dutch visual artist, born in 1978 in Groningen, Netherlands. His works include installations, photos, and sculptures, and focuses on temporal nature of deconstruction and construction. He is known for his Nimbus series – photographs of artificial clouds. The artist is fascinated by duality, so his work aims to investigate the notion of inside and outside, the function of materials and architectural elements, temporality, and size. Smilde attended Minerva Academy of Hanzehogeschool in Groningen, Netherlands, where he earned his BFA in 2001. In 2005, he received his MFA from Frank Mohr Institute, Hanzehogeschool in Groningen, Netherlands.

Berndnaut Smilde - Nimbus Green Room, 2013
Berndnaut Smilde – Nimbus Green Room, 2013

Photography of Berndnaut Smilde

Berndnaut is renowned for his Nimbus body of work, which has gathered a lot of public attention. Since 2010, he has been creating fluffy, dense clouds indoors, using an array of equipment. Smilde creates ethereal clouds that disperse after 10 seconds, which is just enough to get them photographed. He makes ephemeral and mysterious miniature clouds in various locations, from churches and castles to NeueHouse on the 25th Street in New York, in honor of Frieze New York. The only condition is that the venue is damp and cold, without air circulation. The photographer takes a photo of the cloud, as soon as the artist creates it. Sometimes it takes 100 clouds to make a perfect photo. Berndnaut Smilde likes the duality that clouds possess – indoors instead of outdoors, they can be both threatening and very serene, depending on the context. They are like goals and plans which seem achievable until you reach for them and they fall apart just a few seconds later.

Mysterious miniature clouds are created in various locations, from churches and castles

make dutch home of cloud and contact 2014
Berndnaut Smilde – Nimbus Sankt Peter, 2014

Other Projects and Commissions

Apart from his hugely-popular Nimbus series, the artist has collaborated and carried out various other projects. In 2015, during his residency at Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art in Boulder, Colorado, and in collaboration with scientist Steve Tomczyk, he built a prototype prism that breaks light at a large scale. The same year, he spent six days working together with 12 other participants invited by Mesa & Cadeira on creating a natural phenomenon onto the surrounding of Sao Paulo. In 2010, he created Conditioner, the sculpture which converted the gallery air into antiseptic air. In addition to that, his clouds were commissioned for Harper’s Bazaar September issue in 2013. The project was carried out together with Simon Procter, Karl Lagerfeld, Donatella Versace, Alber Elbaz and Dolce & Gabbana.

Apart from his hugely-popular Nimbus series the artist has done various other projects

video news create privacy 2013
Berndnaut Smilde – Nimbus LOT, 2013

Exhibitions and Achievements

Smilde has exhibited his works both in his home country and abroad, in the cities such as Istanbul in Turkey, Taipei in Taiwan, Dublin in Ireland, Toronto in Canada, Paris in France, San Francisco in the United States and London in the United Kingdom. He had his first large-scale solo show in the United States at Land of Tomorrow in Louisville in Kentucky in 2013. His more recent solo exhibition venues include LIAN Contemporary Art Space in Shanghai, China, and Ronchini Gallery in London, United Kingdom. Berndnaut Smilde guest curated a show at the Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht, Netherlands. In 2008, he was invited to be an Artist in Residency at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, Ireland.

TIME Magazine proclaimed Nimbus works one of the Top Ten Inventions of 2012

home is where the cloud is, make 2012 as 2016
Berndnaut Smilde – Nimbus Munnekeholm, 2012


TIME Magazine proclaimed Berndnaut’s Nimbus works one of the Top Ten Inventions of 2012. His works have been featured in many publications and online magazines, such as T Magazine, The Huffington Post, Wired, Imagine Architecture: Artistic Visions of the Urban Realm, Financial Times and The Daily Telegraph. The artist is represented by Ronchini Gallery in London, United Kingdom.

Berndnaut Smilde lives and works in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

All images courtesy of the artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2015A Climate FictionalismHong-Gah Museum, Taipei, TWGroup
2015Nature revelationIan Potter Museum of Art - Univesity of Melbourne, AU Group
2015The Mirror and Lamp ShowGalerie Ton de Boer, HilversumGroup
2015Capturer l'éphémereGalerie Vanessa Quang, Paris, FR Group
2014AntipodeRonchini Gallery, London, UKSolo
2014Cosmos21st Century Minsheng Museum, Shanghai, CNGroup
2014Lucht- in de Nederlandse kunst sinds 1850De Hallen, HaarlemGroup
2014Reflexionen - Ästhetische ReferenzenDarmstädter Tage der Fotografie, DE Group
2014La tete dans les nuagesl'Adresse Musée de la Poste, Paris, FRGroup
2014The Daylight ShowGalerie Ton de Boer, Hilversum Group
2014In Light of The BuildingHorizonVerticaal, HaarlemGroup
2014I am not doing anything until I feel the needDe Nederlandse Bank, AmsterdamGroup
2014GeometriksGaleria Impakto, Lima, PEGroup
2014In de wolkenCBK, Emmen Group
2014WunderkammerTetem Kunstruimte, Enschede Group
2014Nieuw, nieuwer, nieuwst [2]Museum van Bommel van Dam, VenloGroup
2013KammerspieleBonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht Solo
2013Land of TomorrowLouisville, USSolo
2013WITNederlands Fotomuseum, RotterdamGroup
2013Undercover: A dialectVISUAL centre for contemporary art, Carlow, IEGroup
2013All Good Things...Somarts, San Francisco, USGroup
2013In de wolkenMuseum IJsselstein, IJsselsteinGroup
2013NimbusDSM Collection, HeerlenGroup
2013High Art: A Decade of CollectingSmithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington, USGroup
2013The UncannyRonchini Gallery, London, UKGroup
2013Conversation 6SFAC Galleries, San Francisco, USGroup
2013Collectie Manders - Naar eenvoud en verstillingMuseum van Bommel van Dam, VenloGroup
2013Summer Group ShowRonchini Gallery, London, UKGroup
2013Solid Enough To Be InhabitedSchloss Ringenberg, Hamminkeln, DE Group
2013Art 13London, UKGroup
2013Re:RotterdamPlatform 57, Rotterdam Group
2013The CloudDe Meerse, HoofddorpGroup
2013Bologna Art FairBologna, ITGroup
2012Berndnaut SmildePlatform 57, The HaqueSolo
2012Out of focus: PhotographySaatchi Gallery, London, UKGroup
2012Keywords 2012: Asynchronous LifeworldJuming Museum, Taipai, TWGroup
2012ManifestAanwezigKasteel D' Aspremont-Lynden, Rekem, BEGroup
2012Red Sky at NightMercer Union, Toronto, CAGroup
2012Chaos TheorySala, Murat, Bari, ITGroup
2012Nofound Photo FairParis, FRGroup
2012Contemporary IstanbulIstanbul, TRGroup
2012Viaggio al centro della TerraPalazzo della Frumentaria, Sassari, ITGroup
2012Secret PostcardsJan van Eyck Academie, MaastrichtGroup
2012FragileAtelier Tarwewijk, RotterdamGroup
2012Utrecht Manifest No.4Rotsoord, UtrechtGroup
2012Supermarket 2012, with TupajumiKulturhuset, Stockholm, SEGroup
2012UnflattenedTape, ArnhemGroup
2011Multi SoloTetem, EnschedeGroup
2011OSTRALE'011Dresden, DEGroup
2011KammerspieleMischpoke, Mönchengladbach, DEGroup
2011Zomerexpo 2011Gemeentemuseum, The HaqueGroup
2011Partial Illusion-Defiliecour EkstraRunde Ecke, Dresden, DEGroup
2010Bunker projectGalerie West, The HagueSolo
2010NimbusProbe, ArnhemSolo
2010O Fortuna, Biënnale Gelderland, with Suze May ShoMuseum het Valkhof, NijmegenGroup
2010I Am Solitary I Am An ArmySurface Gallery, Nottingham, UKGroup
2010CantavidaSecondroom, Brussels, BEGroup
2009Carcass DividedDe Kijkkasten, AmsterdamSolo
2009TULCA Festival of Visual ArtsLive at No. 8, Galway, IEGroup
2009AutomaticAuto Italia South East, London, UKGroup
2009AutomaticPallas Contemporary projects, Dublin, IEGroup
2009Welcome to the NeighbourhoodAskeaton Contemporary Arts, IE Group
2009The Art and Collections IIIDISplay, NP3, GroningenGroup
2009Top 40L.A. Centre of Digital Art, Los Angeles Group
2009Top 40UCR California Museum of Photography, USGroup
2008Process RoomIrish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, IESolo
2008Ut-Opia - Super CityExpodium, Utrecht Group
2008Visit.2008Open studios Dublin, IMMA-ARP studios, Dublin, IEGroup
2008NP3's Grande Biennale: Concours NéerlandaisKunsteyssen, AlkmaarGroup
2008Piece of the pieMinerva Academy, GroningenGroup
2007Berndnaut SmildeMOOT Gallery, Nottingham, UK Solo
2007Berndnaut SmildeCollectie Marcel, DISplay, NP3, GroningenSolo
2007Your Live Is Now A Little ShorterMy House Projects, Derby, UKGroup
2007One; & the other paintingW139 basement, AmsterdamGroup
2007NpegNP3, GroningenGroup
2007Focus & diversityFrank Mohr Institute, GroningenGroup
2007She gave her hands to callosityMedium Gallery, GroningenGroup
2006IntercityDe Fabriek, EindhovenGroup
2006MoreKunstvlaai 6, AmsterdamGroup
2005Frank Mohr at OC&WDepartment of Education, Science and Culture, The HagueGroup
2005Trailer, Final Presentation MFA PaintingFrank Mohr Institute, Groningen Group
2005Things Apart, with Jeroen BrouwerExpodium, UtrechtGroup
2005De Brink, with Jeroen BrouwerHunze & Aa’s Waterschap, VeendamGroup
2005FMIMinerva Academy, GroningenGroup
2005MFA DEFKADEFKA, AssenGroup
2005PPFFrank Mohr Institute, Groningen Group
2004WHITE, with Jeroen BrouwerGalerie Sign, GroningenGroup
2004Sporen van het spullenbeestUniversity Museum, GroningenGroup
2004Qlub ID, with Jeroen Brouwer and Vincent BruijnNP3, GroningenGroup
2003PhotophuckNP3, GroningenGroup
2002Art Primeur 2002CBK, DordrechtGroup
2002Lentesalon, with Jeroen BrouwerPictura, GroningenGroup
2001Group ShowGalerie Boven De Bank, GroningenGroup
2001Group ShowGalerij de Lawei, DrachtenGroup
2001Final PresentationMinerva Academy, GroningenGroup