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"Carsten Nicolai - Modular Re:strukt"
2003-04-10 until 2003-05-17
the Paolo Curti / Annamaria Gambuzzi and Co. Gallery
The exhibition by the German artist Carsten Nicolai opened on April 10 in the Paolo Curti/Annamaria Gambuzzi Gallery. Born in 1965 in Karl-Marx Stadt (Chemnitz, RDT), initially an apprentice gardener, then a landscape architect, Carsten Nicolai began his persuits as an artist in 1986 in Leipzig.
He has previously shown his work at the Milan gallery of Paolo Curti/Annamaria Gambuzzi in 2001, and that same year, participated at the Venice Biennial with a solo room.
Interaction of video imagery, sound and painting is a constant in Nicolaiís work. He has created electronic music for years, using the pseudonym noto. A visit to his website www.raster-noton.de to see all his various projects provides an interesting experience.
In this show the artist presents a series of works that intuitively correspond to concepts of modular standardization, industrialization and repetitive systems contained in the utopian ideals of modernism. These principles of modularity and standardization formed the inspiration for the architecture of Le Corbusier, the Bauhaus and, later, the school of Ulm, but then became, in Nicolaiís view, the limited definition of a non-creative system, due to excessively literal application through methods of industrialization.
To rivitalize creativity, in this exhibition Nicolai "restructs" the reaction to modular forms, inviting visitors to force individuality back into the grid by means of logical systems controlled by the artistís hand. On a central platform identical three-dimensional forms physically interlock, building a repetitive surface. Visitors are encouraged to interact with this surface, extracting forms and re-building new structures. On the walls there are two-dimensional interpretations of this repetitive pattern, in the form of screen-printed monochrome designs, where certain segments have been blacked out by the artist, generating a "virus effect", together with other original monochromes ready for activation by the viewer. The overall regulation of the design is random, allowing new models to develop.
These "Restructs" remind us of earlier works by Nicolai, such as the "Random Dot Paintings" and "Snow Noise", where the artist explored the random results caused by similar logical processes, to question what is behind our creative force and thinking. In this exhibition Nicolai extends his interest in the concept of process, particularly that of display, also in relation to the materials generated.
Selected solo shows: Neue Nationalgalerie (Berlin 1994); New York Kunsthalle (New York 1996); Produktionen 1999/2000, Kunsthalle Vierseithof (Luckenwalde 1999); Paolo Curti & Co. (Milan 2001); Watari-um, Watari Museum of Contemporary Art (Tokyo 2002).
Major group shows: Cadavere Exquis, Drawing Center (New York 1993); Welt Moral, Kunsthalle Basel (Basel 1994); Documenta X (Kassel 1997); Examining Pictures: Whitechapel Art Gallery (London 1999), Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago 1999) Armand Hammer Museum of Art (Los Angeles 2000); Empty Garden, Watari-Um Museum (Tokyo 1999); Audible Images, Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago 2001); Istanbul Biennial (Istanbul 2001); Venice Biennial (Venice 2001); Art/Music: Rock, Pop, Punk, Techno, Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney 2001); Media Connection, Palazzo delle Esposizioni (Rome 2001), Palazzo della Triennale (Milan 2001); Frequenzen (hz), Schirn Kunsthalle (Frankfurt/Main 2002).