In the rare realm of people who have mastered art and music as blended elements, Carsten Nicolai continues to drive creative processes into new directions.
Originally trained as a landscape architect, Nicolai found his way via painting to a unique position on the borderline between art, science, and sound. By applying his own aesthetic vision to scientific and sonic experiments, he has achieved to combine fundamentally different areas into a body of work that remains unmistakeably his own.
A founder member of the acclaimed label raster-noton that also acts as an imprint for the release of his own material under the alias alva noto, Nicolai has performed and created installations in international exhibition spaces including the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Documenta X in 1997, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the 2001 Venice Biennale.
Recently, his disciplined perception of sound has been brought to the piano work of Ryuichi Sakamoto for their collaborative records vrioon and insen, which they will be performing live throughout the next 12 months all across the globe. 2005 has also seen the inception of the travelling installation syn chron, premiered at Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie, a crystalline shaped architectural ‘skin’ in which acoustic and visual capabilities are inbuilt. He also had his first retrospective anti.reflex at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt.
This interview begins in the empty factories of the former Karl Marx Stadt, whose abandoned contents provided Nicolai with some critical starting points. A decade later, we are witnessing the outcome of these inspirations in the works of an artist who is now modulating the future.