Olaf Nicolai is one of Germany's leading artists, he takes on a range of conceptual themes, from political and cultural critiques to inquiries into human perception.
After studying German language and literature at the University of Leipzig, he has practiced as a visual artist since 1990. He lives and works in Berlin.
Nicolai is here in Melbourne for the Bookworks exhibition at Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA) where he is undertaking a number of talks and conversations.
Tuesday 3 September, 6pm
In Conversation: Mikala Dwyer, Justene Williams and Olaf Nicolai
Buxton Contemporary, Cnr Southbank Boulevard & Dodds Street Southbank
Free event, Please register your attendance here
An illustrated conversation exploring the influences and legacies of the Bauhaus in the work of three leading Australian and German artists: Mikala Dwyer, Justene Williams and Olaf Nicolai led by the curator of the Bauhaus Now! exhibition Ann Stephen. This conversation is made possible through the generosity of the Goethe-Institut.
Wednesday 4 September, 1-2pm
MADA Artforum lecture
Monash Art, Design and Architecture, Monash University, Caulfield Campus
Olaf Nicolai is included in the group exhibition bookworks, a survey of contemporary artist book publishing guest curated by Warren Taylor that brings together six of the world's leading exponents to Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA) from 24 July until 21 September 2019. The exhibition explores the thematic connections between books, art and publishing from the conceptual, technical and material form of artist books – their history, production, classification and distribution.
Nicolai will expand on a selection of his projects for bookworks, including HOW TO PRODUCE A SITE SPECIFIC WORK ANYWHERE which involves a doppelgänger acting as the artist in the city of Melbourne.
Wednesday 4 September, 6pm
MUMA, Monash University, Caulfield Campus
Free Event, bookings essential, click here to register
An evening of readings from German artist, Olaf Nicolai's famed artist publication, Four Times Through the Labyrinth. Published by Spector Books in 2013, and translated from the German by Sadie Plant, this publication serves as both a reference system to Nicolai's work and an independent source book that explores and combines a broad spectrum of topics related to the labyrinth theme, from the fable of the minotaur to the floorplan of IKEA.
Renowned for his conceptual work, Nicolai uses publishing as a method to translate, contextualise and examine his practice. With almost 100 publications to date, Nicolai will expand a selection of projects for the Bookworks exhibition at MUMA, including Four Times Through the Labyrinth and HOW TO PRODUCE A SITE-SPECIFIC WORK ANYWHERE, which involves a doppelgänger acting as the artist for a period before the show.
'This book enlarges the traditional catalogue of labyrinths so much and so well, being itself labyrinthine.'- Jean-Luc Nancy, French deconstructionist philosopher
Readings will be performed by artist Archie Barry and philosopher Bryan Cooke.
Thursday 5 September, 6-9pm
Loop Bar, 23 Meyers Pl, Melbourne
Olaf Nicolai: In the Woods There is a Bird & Rosie Isaac: Intestine In My Eye
Liquid Architecture and MUMA present acclaimed artists Olaf Nicolai and Rosie Isaac in performance and conversation.
Olaf Nicolai will discuss his interdisciplinary projects in sound and publishing, alongside a listening session to 'In the Woods There Is A Bird . . .' , a radiophonic commission for documenta 14 which has subsequently been released as an LP by the label Public Possession. The work utilises audio, indexicality and political agency as critical tools, mobilising radio as a source material for concrete sound objects that feed into musical compositions, publications, a map, and calendar. Extending beyond institutional settings into public and private spaces, Nicolai's projects' material and temporal effects are actively attuned to their context, creating unpredictable performative configurations.
Rosie Isaac's 'Intestine In My Eye' is a performative reading which digests the legal structures of citizenship and subjectivity through poetic intervention. Developed originally through research at the Law Library of Victoria, the performance and publication uses juridical logics to underscore the microscopic political agency of the body and it's manifold ecologies. Gently pulling at the strands of power – symbolic currency and material effect – Issac's work is sustained through sonic and linguistic accumulation, consumed and offered as methods for splintering the voice and its subjectivity. This new presentation of the work will incorporate echoes of the first iteration, in a hotel room looming over the library, presented at Next Wave 2018.
Following the presentations, both artists will be in discussion with Liquid Architecture's Debris Facility, providing context on their expansive art practices, networked operations, and how audiences are enfolded.
Image: Olaf Nicolai, The Blondes 2005 and 30 Farben 2000, installation view, Monash University Museum of Art. Photo: Christian Capurro