LENIN: 8qm, 2000

Photo: Uwe Walter | Courtesy of Galerie EIGEN+ART, Leipzig, Berlin

Fishscale material, silk, embroidered label
283 x 283 cm

Olaf Nicolai is interested in the process whereby a work of art is transformed into a consumer object and vice versa as well as in the ideological transformation of works of art, cult and utilitarian objects. Whereas the transformation of socialism to capitalism is the idea behind Lenin: 8 qm, the work can also become an abstract and purely formal textile sculpture, which still does not lose its socialist connotations, which survives in its title. Lenin: 8 qm is a carpet made of hand-sewn, fish scale material 8 square meters in size, representing the living space which Vladimir I. Lenin allocated in 1917 to each Soviet citizen. Olaf Nicolai's work expresses the ambivalence between utopian, pragmatic and consumerist definitions, inherent to the concept of "living space".
Olaf Nicolai (*1962 in Halle, living and working in Berlin, Germany) is considered one of Germany’s leading artists, Olaf Nicolai takes on a range of conceptual themes, from political and cultural critiques to inquiries into human perception. A recurring subject is the aesthetic appropriation of nature by human culture and design, explored through mixed-media sculptures and images, as in his juxtaposition of plant forms with depictions of hand gestures in Italian Renaissance paintings. “Questions of form, moods, attitudes, and style are not just vain play with surfaces,” Nicolai has said. “They are questions of organizational forms of activities.”

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