Addressing the contemporary world as a landscape of consumption, the conceptual sculptor, video, performance, and installation artist Olaf Nicolai recycles the detritus of Western culture as an ethnologist of alienation. Primary in all of his work is the sense of the bodies of his viewers in historical space and in communion with others. A key component for many of Nicolai’s investigations is the relation of Modernism to political and economic histories, and references have included Le Corbusier, Jean Genet, Ad Reinhardt, and Duchamp. Recent works, such as his Chant d’amour (2003) and Escalier du Chant (2011), rely on allusive imagery and the desirousness of sensual, aural stimulation to induce gallery goers to consider the space around them as one charged by commerce and current political events. Nicolai has shown at Documenta X, multiple Venice Biennales, MoMA, the Denver Art Museum, the Hayward Gallery in London, and many others.
PennDesign Fine Arts Lecture Series