July 8, 2012 - Kunsthalle Münster - Olaf Nicolai
July 8, 2012

Olaf Nicolai

© Olaf Nicolai.

Olaf Nicolai​
The peacock with his long train appears more like a dandy than a warrior, but he sometimes engages in fierce contests*

9 June–30 September 2012

Kunsthalle Münster
Hafenweg 28, Speicher II
48155 Münster, Germany
Hours: Tue–Fri, 2–7pm, Sat–Sun, 12–6pm


The peacock’s magnificently colored feathers are deceptive. This well-known yet fascinating colour display actually appears only when light falls on the bird’s feathers in a precise way. Thus the aesthetic experience is indebted not exclusively to the colours of the bird´s feathers, rather much more to the play of light, reflection, and the processes of individual observation. Such scientific and physiological processes dealing with the nature of perception are examined by Olaf Nicolai, often radicalized in larger social and political contexts in his work.

“Seen in the light…” is a phrase used when the true nature of a phenomenon is revealed or appears different than initially assumed. This figure of speech acts as a descriptive substitute for words such as “clarify,” “illuminate” or “enlighten” (from which the English word “Enlightenment” is derived), words whose etymologies also stem from visual experience. These are words which express the interdependence between light, seeing, and the act of recognition, a complex process in which objective and subjective information coalesce to create the perception of an image. Olaf Nicolai’s diverse artistic approaches examine what “seen in the light” can mean. By creating sensual environments within which physiological, aesthetic, and ideological factors superimpose and play upon each other. Or put differently, could the peacock be more than one of nature’s passing fancies and instead tell us something significant about the complex interplay between the process of evolution and the event of revolution?

*Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, Volume II (1st Edition), 1871. Gutenberg eBook #36520, June 25, 2011. www.gutenberg.org/files/36520/36520-h/36520-h.htm.

Curators: Gail Kirkpatrick and Marcus Lütkemeyer.

Olaf Nicolai is represented by the gallery EIGEN + ART, Leipzig, Berlin.

Museum events
Let’s talk about art – Art Talk, every Sunday 4–6pm
“Long Night of the Museums and Galleries,” 1 September 2012, 4pm–midnight

For further information contact:
T +49 251 492 41 01 / kirkpatrick [​at​] stadt-muenster.de

The Exhibition is supported by the Kunststiftung NRW. The filmÀ la cantonade (2012) was produced in collaboration with Deutsche Hörfilm gemeinnützige GmbH. Thanks to the Initiative “Mensch” for the support. The Kunsthalle Münster is supported by the Freundeskreis der Kunsthalle Münster. The Kunsthalle Münster is an institution of the City of Münster.

Kunsthalle Münster
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