Nina Childress was born in 1961 in Pasadena, USA and lives and works in Paris.
Before Nina Childress there was Nina Kuss, the face of the punk band “Lucrate Milk”. In 1981, the life of this young woman, whose big eyes and endless legs created an air of Twiggy about her, took a turn when she met fellow classmates Helno, Raoul Gaboni, Laul Lombrick and Masto (future member of the Bérurier noir punk band), who would soon become her partner, in the halls of the Arts déco school in Paris.
After three tumultuous years with Lucrate Milk, she took part in another collective adventure: that of the Frères Ripoulin (Ripoulin Brothers), who were then lodged by one of the most notorious newspapers at the time, Actuel.
If the Frères Ripoulin don’t ring a bell to the young artists and critics of today, it’s only because the most famous members of the group (Pierre Huygue and Claude Closky) have not done much to maintain its memory. Their ultra-prolific collective once followed in the path of the Figuration Libre (“Free Figuration”) movement, honoured Basquiat and Keith Harring and invented street art long before it was a thing.
Of that time, Nina Childress kept a taste for exhibition hanging and unorthodox staging techniques which she plays with in most of her shows. That is until this one, which will be hung in a more classical fashion, in following with Eric Troncy’s inclination to show painting and painting only. This tendency of hers, which was reinforced by her work with the Frères Ripoulin, is also the result of her ancestry. “On one side her maternal grandmother, on the American side, Doris Childress. An amateur painter who when she arrived at theirs could run back out to buy paints and a canvas to liven up a wall which she found looked too white”. “On the other side, the third husband of her French grandmother, George Breuil, an abstract painter linked to lyrical abstraction, would exhibit his work in front of the Renault factories in Billancourt in 1961.” Between these two perspectives, one blithe and slightly irreverent, the other rather radical and intellectual, Nina Childress never made a choice. “A painting practice that is at the same time conceptual and idiotic” as she says in her interview with Yannick Miloux.
After having taught for a long time at the Ecole nationale supérieure d’art de Nancy, Nina Childress is now professor in painting at the Ecole nationale supérieure d’art de Paris since octobre 2019.