Carsten Nicolai

A cura di Vittoria Broggini

1 October  -  31 October 2010

Carsten Nicolai
by Vittoria Broggini
October 1 – 31,  2010 Opening on 1st October 2010 at 18.30

Carsten Nicolai (aka noto, alva noto, Germany,1965), is part of a generation of artists who intensively work in the transitional area between art and science. Nicolai uses electronic sound and visual art like sort of a hybrid tool to create his own microscopic vision of creative processes.
The artist seeks to overcome the separation between art forms and genres, with his own work and research he positions himself in an aesthetic field where any divisions between sensory perceptions are dissolved. His work, whose ambiguous, musical and visual nature reflects the artist’s double identity, revolves around sensitising the viewer into connecting different sensory levels.
On display at MAGA, among other works, Anti, 2004, one of the most emblematic works of the artist, a monumental geometrical form full of hermetic symbolism which evokes Melancolia, famous Durer’s carving. Anti interacts with the viewer’s body, resonates with its magnetic field, its silent and monolithic presence conceals a mechanism which absorbs and  emanates information. In contrast, Wellenwanne is an installation in which water and sound generate always different visual patterns. As an aesthetic, perceptive and visual model, wellenwanne is a work based on the unusual physics of water and modulating frequencies of sound.
At MAGA Carsten Nicolai presents an exceptional work of art realised specifically for the exhibition and produced by the museum.
On display are also other meaningful Nicolai’s works offering a representative collection of his artistic career. To mention only a few: Magnetic State, 2004, Yes/no, 2009.
The dual nature of Carsten Nicolai’s work reveals itself in the coexistence of physical  characteristics of sound impact, expressed through use of very low and very high frequencies in a powerful and simultaneously sharp manner and the surgical and microscopic character of the structures in which this sonic installation is realised. The same is true also for visual works in which Nicolai makes use of rigorous, yet delicate, structures, still within the domain of a strong polarization. A synthesis of his works can be found in the installations, immersive environments where visual and acoustic research merge.
His research starts from natural phenomena like the sound (of which he studies the relationship with space, time and movement), light, electromagnetic fields (especially polarity effects) and natural elements like milk or snow. And just as snow flakes make it possible to generate unique and unrepeatable shapes or morphologies, Nicolai’s works start from a minimum of perception, a nucleus around which a system of events is generated, to which an element of error is added that in turn will cause frequency changes, sounds and visions generating other infinite nucleuses and infinite escape routes  for perception.
Since 1999 with the creation of the label Raster Noton (founded with Frank Bretschneider and Olaf Bender) alva noto has been faced with a new and fascinating challenge, consisting in blending the search of more sophisticated and radical sound with the new languages of electronic pop, defining a path capable of appealing to an ever more heterogeneous audience.
After his participation in important international exhibitions like “Documenta X” and the “49th and 50th Venice Biennial”, Nicolai’s work were shown in two comprehensive solo exhibitions at Kunsthalle in Frankfurt and at Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin in 2005.
Under the pseudonym alva noto Nicolai is one of the leading artists in the field of digital music, his performances have been featured in the most important art centres in the world, ranging from Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, to San Francisco Moma, from Centre Pompidou in Paris, The Kunsthaus in Graz and The Tate Modern in London. In addition, he collaborates with different artists on their projects, such as Ryuichi Sakamoto, Ryoji Ikeda, Blixa Bargeld, Michael Nyman, Mika Vainio and Thomas Knak.