August 7, 2009 - Kunstmuseum Thurgau - Olaf Nicolai
August 7, 2009

Olaf Nicolai

Olaf Nicolai
Welcome to the Tears of St. Lawrence

An Appointment to Watch Falling Stars.
12th August, 2009, 9pm

Kartause Ittingen
CH 8532 Warth
0041/ (0)52 748 41 20
kunstmuseum [​at​]

On 12th August the Kunstmuseum Thurgau will host Olaf Nicolai’s work, “Welcome to the Tears of St. Lawrence”. With his project the German concept artist directs our gaze to the meteor shower of the Perseids, also known as the “Tears of St. Lawrence”, and draws our attention to the visual sense in general.

The Kunstmuseum Thurgau extends an invitation to indulge in some meteor gazing on the night of 12th August. The event is part of Olaf Nicolai’s work, Welcome to the Tears of St. Lawrence”. From 8th to 13th August, visitors are invited to gaze at the sky streaked by the Perseids, an annual summer shower, which seems to radiate from the constellation Perseus. Culminating around 12th August, the shower consists of up to one hundred meteors each night. It is also known as the “Tears of St. Lawrence”, after their occurrence on and around 10th August, the feast day of St. Lawrence. According to legend, rather than handing treasures over to the Roman emperor Valerian, Lawrence distributed them among the poor, for which he was martyred by being roasted alive on a gridiron. The meteors are said to represent his glowing tears.

Welcome to the Tears of St. Lawrence was commissioned from Olaf Nicolai for the 51st Venice Biennale of 2005. The property of Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Nicolai’s piece will be on permanent loan from August 2009 to the Kunstmuseum Thurgau at Kartause Ittingen, whose patron saint is St. Lawrence. He therefore provides a direct link between the museum and the work. An essential part of Nicolai’s work is the artist’s invitation to gaze at the sky, communicated by posters, advertisements and a brochure. At Kunstmuseum Thurgau it is complemented by an event scheduled for the day of culmination. This year’s show on 12th August starts at 9pm when astrophysicist Dr. Roland Brodbeck will talk about the meteor shower from an astronomer’s perspective.

The event launches Olaf Nicolai’s solo exhibition “Mirador” at the Kunstmuseum Thurgau, from 18 October, 2009, until 11 April, 2010.


Olaf Nicolai was born in 1962, in Halle/Saale, in the then German Democratic Republic, and grew up in Chemnitz (formerly Karl-Marx-Stadt). From 1983 to 1988 he read German language and literature at the universities of Leipzig, Vienna and Budapest, and in 1992 obtained a doctorate from Leipzig University. He also has a diploma in applied arts from the Fachhochschule für Angewandte Kunst Schneeberg. He lives and works in Berlin.

Olaf Nicolai’s works were shown at Documenta X (1997), and at the 49th and 51st Biennales in Venice (2001 and 2005, respectively). He has been awarded various grants and fellowships, for example from Villa Massimo, Rome (1998), and Villa Aurora, Los Angeles (2007), and, in 2002, the city of Wolfsburg’s arts prize, Junge Stadt sieht Junge Kunst.

Nicolai has participated in international solo and group exhibitions. Several of his works can be found in public collections, such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna; Friedrich Christian Flick Collection, Berlin; and Migros Museum, Zürich.

Nicolai’s conceptual approach and use of diverse media question the way in which we view our everyday environment. He also translates theories from science and the arts into aesthetic-artistic idioms, rendering them accessible in a new context.

Kunstmuseum Thurgau
Kartause Ittingen
CH 8532 Warth
0041/ (0)52 748 41 20

May ─ September: every day, 11am ─ 6pm
October ─ April: Monday ─ Friday, 2pm ─ 5pm
Saturday / Sunday / bank holidays, 11am ─ 5pm

Kunstmuseum Thurgau
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