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Olaf Nicolai: “Oskar: A Camouflage”

From September 10 to October 10, 2021 within the framework of VARIOUS OTHERS the Munich Documentation Center for the History of National Socialism will show the installation “Oskar: A Camouflage” by Olaf Nicolai on Max-Mannheimer-Platz. In this work, specially conceived for the site, Nicolai uses camouflage to make the location apparently disappear and thus stagea complex reenactment of the site’s momentous history.

At the same time, he sets this history in a broader context, referencing the work of the Bauhaus artist Oskar Schlemmer who was ostracized by the Nazis. The installation thus addresses the conditions for art and artists under a dictatorship. The radical modernity of the Bauhaus is echoed in the abstract pattern of the camouflage, derived from a design Schlemmer made in 1941. The design was not, however, intended to be artistic but was conceived for the functional purpose of camouflage. The constructive link between the artistic genres of architecture and painting propagated by the Bauhaus a few years earlier was now perverted into a fatal symbiosis between painting and war.


Olaf Nicolai

Olaf Nicolai (born in Halle a.d. Saale in 1962) works on various interdisciplinary projects that relate to experiences of space, time, and physicality. His artistic practice is characterized by performative elements, changing works, modified everyday objects, and pop culture icons as well as a wide range of references drawn from the fields of political and intellectual history, philosophy, architecture, and even science fiction, design, and music. He works with various materials and creates conceptual works with dense content and sensory experiences.


Olaf Nicolai: „Oskar: A Camouflage“ at Max-Mannheimer-Platz, 2021 | © Olaf Nicolai / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021, Courtesy Olaf Nicolai and Galerie Eigen+Art, Leipzig / Berlin, photo: Edward Beierle
Olaf Nicolai: „Oskar: A Camouflage“ at Max-Mannheimer-Platz, 2021 | © Olaf Nicolai / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021, Courtesy Olaf Nicolai and Galerie Eigen+Art, Leipzig / Berlin, photo: Edward Beierle
Olaf Nicolai: „Oskar: A Camouflage“ at Max-Mannheimer-Platz, 2021 | © Olaf Nicolai / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021, Courtesy Olaf Nicolai and Galerie Eigen+Art, Leipzig / Berlin, photo: Edward Beierle
Olaf Nicolai: „Oskar: A Camouflage“ at Max-Mannheimer-Platz, 2021 | © Olaf Nicolai / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021, Courtesy Olaf Nicolai and Galerie Eigen+Art, Leipzig / Berlin, photo: Edward Beierle

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