Art Prize of the City of Wolfsburg “Junge Stadt sieht Junge Kunst” 2002

For the exhibition in connection with the Art Prize, Olaf Nicolai designed an extensive installation: “Die Flamme der Revolution, liegend (in Wolfsburg)” (the flame of the revolution, lying (in Wolfsburg)). With the allusion to a sculpture that was created for the outdoors and is now being presented on an on-going basis in the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg, Nicolai formulates the relationship between formal processes and the constitution of meanings in a way that is characteristic of his works.

The monument “Flamme der Revolution” (flame of the revolution), which was designed by Siegbert Fliegel, was erected in 1967 on the Hansering in the city of Halle in connection with the fiftieth anniversary of the October Revolution. Since what was concerned here was a major project, the design and execution were regulated accordingly with regard to content. Fliegel’s sculpture is oriented toward earlier works such as Walter Gropius’ Märzgefallenendenkmal (Monument to the March Fallen, Weimar, 1923) or Tatlin’s Model for a Monument to the Third International (1919) – a spiral skeleton moving in opposite directions with embedded spatial bodies –, which in their abstract language of forms postulate a connection between technical and social progress. In Halle, a monumental, impressively dynamic, concrete sculpture with a height of twenty-four metres that is put together from ten concrete parts was created. Although Fliegel rejected the idea of painting the work in colour and favoured “a clean figure, a pure white form” for his design, on the instructions of the client, the “colours of fire” were applied to the surface of the sculpture. In a later renewal of the surface, the decision was made for a uniform red. Today the surface is dotted with graffiti in the most diverse motifs so that the monument appears to have been viciously attacked. In the current cityscape, the artwork leads something of a shadowy existence since the design of the square has also undergone substantial changes since the middle of the 1990s. Although the site where it is installed was a representative starting point for demonstrations and parades prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall, it today provides access to a car park.

The installation in Wolfsburg transfers the monument in Halle to the exhibition space and in doing so transforms it into a sculpture that at first glance is fascinating as a result of its form. Since not only the location but also the way in which the “Flamme der Revolution” is installed – lying down instead of standing up – is different, new ascriptions and options emerge: “purely” abstract sculpture, element for a playground and/or reformulation of a memento mori.

Through the windows of the exhibition space, it is possible to see the VW plant, housing estates and the Autostadt completed in 2001 with its sales pavilions, cultural institutions and a hotel. And Olaf Nicolai also created a further work for the Autostadt: In the “Premium Clubhouse” a Bugatti Veyron 16.4 completely covered with a mirror finish has stood between mirrored walls since 2008.

“The production of culture is the final stage of capitalism, whose key driving force has always been to absorb more and more human activities into economic life.” (Jeremy Rifkin)

Dates

  • 18. November 2017 19.00 cet
    Performance mit Olaf Nicolai

    Gemeinsam mit dem Sänger Andreas Fischer und zum Stück IN THE WOODS THERE IS A BIRD... wird Olaf Nicolai zur Wiedereröffnung seiner raumgreifenden Installation eine Performance aufführen.

    Titel: IN THE WOODS THERE IS A BIRD… Länge: 31 min Die Performance wird von dem Sänger Andreas Fischer begleitet.

    "Im Wald ist ein Vogel, sein Lied hemmt deinen Schritt und macht dich erröten. […] Endlich ist da, wenn man Hunger und Durst hat, einer, der dich davonjagt.“ Arthur Rimbaud

    Das Klangkunstwerk IN THE WOODS THERE IS A BIRD... basiert auf archivierten Soundmaterialien von Radioberichten und nutzt das Radio als Ausgangspunkt anstatt als bloßes Übermittlungsmedium. Ziel ist es, die Beziehung von Klang und Inhalt zu erforschen. Als Quellen dienen hierbei das Hintergrundrauschen von Demonstrationen, Randalen, Kundgebungen, die für das Radio aufgenommen wurden und die Olaf Nicolai nutzt, um einen Soundtrack aus diesen verschiedenartigen „Stimmungen“ zu generieren. Das Stück ist konzipiert für weitere Interpretationen durch unterschiedliche Kollaborateure, sowohl in Form von konkreten Soundobjekten, Rundfunkbeiträgen als auch räumlichen Inszenierungen, Live-Performances bis hin zu installativen Arbeiten. Teil dieses Projektes ist ein Künstlerbuch, welches einen visuellem Essay und die Quellen des Soundtracks in einem Bild Register der Orte und Daten vereint.

Press

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