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Visual Communication (MA)

Nina Fisher

Nina Fisher (b.2000) is a multimedia artist and designer from Milan. Nina began her fine art education in Italy, studying Modern art history and practising figure drawing. In 2018, dissatisfied by the overly classical, almost stagnant approach of the Italian art school, she moved to the UK to study Illustration at the University of Brighton. Her undergraduate studies focused on expanding the practice of illustration through experimental play and multimedia approaches. Whilst at Brighton, Nina built a portfolio of oneiric imagery inspired by re-developed childhood memories and dreamscapes. After a one year break from academia, she enrolled in postgraduate studies at the RCA with the intention of further opening her practice which she felt had reached a point of stasis. 

In this past year, Nina has been investigating methods of image deterioration, partly driven by a desire to lose a degree of agency which the unpredictable qualities of organic decay allow for. 


2022-2023 Ma Visual Communication, Royal College of Art

2019-2021 Ba(Hons) Visual Communication (Illustration), University of Brighton


2021 Platform Graduate Award, Shortlisted

2021 Matchbox Film Awards, Animator Award

2021 Toronto Indie Short Film Festival, Finalist

Selected Exhibitions

2022 Royal Society of British Artists Annual Showcase, Mall Galleries, London

2021 MISC, Hoxton Arches, London

Early headshot

Nina’s practice places its lenses on autobiographical memories, narrative grief and family archives. Rarely striding away from what is deeply personal, intimate and slightly cryptic, she uses her work as a way to open a space for vulnerability and mutual solace. The sudden loss of a close family member, coupled with the development of a certain thanatophobia, led Nina to work around loss and bereavement processing, resulting in a quiet protest against the taboos that surround talk around death. Nina is fascinated by harmonies of opposites: objects as emotional triggers, decomposition as recomposition, organic and inorganic materials, permanent and mutable. This fascination translates into the mediums that get chosen: rudimentary photographic transfers, organic deterioration, resin casting and archival exploration. The work that emerges is characterised by a suspended yet ephemeral quality where ghostly images, often corroded by mould or fungi, silently remind us of our transitory state while celebrating the beauty of the ever changing.  

photo transfers on fabric


Confronting our own mortality and that of those close to us is an uncomfortable, if not distressing, process. Talk around death is still taboo and the adoption of euphemisms remains necessary, if not inevitable. Exemplary is the tendency to soften the term dead with the more digestible yet ambiguous passed away. Therefore, when someone we know passes away the sudden entrance of death feels so abrupt, almost despotic. An uninvited guest, it stands as an unpleasant reminder of inevitability.

In May 2022 my mother passed away. A premature, unexpected farwell. The immediacy of the event did not allow for a proper preparation, emotional or psychological. Despite an initial impression of relatively healthy grief processing, considerations of my own mortality creeped in. Slowly, subtly. Whispering to my already anxious self a countdown of how much time is left. 

This obsession with death, with the morbid, sparked a fascination for what clearly bears the signs of passing. The agents of decay: mould and fungi. Far from shyly, fungi make their way into what has reached its due date. Marching from within, they gradually process the flesh, blossoming shortly after into an almost flamboyant display: dotted patterns of multi-coloured spores, seemingly imitating a field of bizarre wildflowers. Once past the initial reaction of disgust – the instinct to dispose of what is decomposed, corrupted – what remains is the admission of a certain kind of beauty. Toxic but nonetheless bewitching. And it is so that this decomposition, inevitably, assumes the role of recomposition. A metamorphosis capable of turning that which has ceased to be into a subject that is once more ‘alive’. 

The absence of my mother led me to search for her elsewhere. Looking at photographs of her early life became an act of solace, assuming the role of an almost daily ritual. I became especially drawn to images of her childhood, an age where considerations of our own mortality have not – perhaps – yet appeared and where the focus is very much placed in the immediate. Retracing her early life, of which I knew sporadic anecdotes, consolidated and re-grounded her being. The release from the constrained portrait as Mom – inevitable product of the naïve selfishness as daughter –  revealed a resonance which before had only been partly noticed. In a bittersweet twist I deeply connected with my mother once she was gone.

photo transfer on paper left to decompose
photo transfer on fabric
photo transfer on fabric
photo transfer on paper
photo transfer on fabric
photo transfer on fabric
photo transfer on fabric
photo transfer on fabric

Throughout the project, Nina utilised methods of photo transfer to uncover and familiarise herself with fragments of her mother's history. Searching through her family's belongings and archives, she focused on the contents of three thick leather-bound photo albums which tracked instances of her family's everyday life from 1927 until 1998. The images that emerge are rudimentary, fragmented, ghostly. The transfers were then sealed with organic matter and left to decompose. After a period ranging from a few days to a couple of weeks, the transfers were uncovered revealing a multitude of spores and fungi. The ghostly images had been recomposed into a piece that was, in some sense, 'alive'.

detail of mould formation
detail of photo transfer with mould formation
photo transfers on paper
photo transfers left to decompose
photo transfer on fabric

When my mother passed away, a great effort was put into emptying her studio. For more than twelve years she had been gathering, selecting and collecting objects of interest, art materials, newspapers, heirlooms and family heirlooms. During the clearing, most of these items, small records of her existence, were lost. A few selected items, of little value and unnoticeable to a passing eye, were kept aside. The objects were later cast in epoxy resin, preserving them in perpetuity. If the mould represents what is organic, temporal and mutable, the objects in the resin stand for what is controllable and permanent. The immutable relic. 

resin cast of a small pi
resin cast of a small pill containe
all the objects that couldn't be saved, their ghosts forming a creature
An ode to all that couldn't be saved, all the small objects of poor value, trash, small collectables. Their absence roaming like a ghost.


Found objects, resin