(edited by) Susanne Gaensheimer, Doris Krystof – Parallax Symmetry


Spector Books / Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, ISBN-13: 978-3959053501, German, 146 pages, 2019, Germany

The multiple artistic endeavours of Carsten Nicolai have been acknowledged in numerous exhibitions and performances all over the world. Parallax Symmetry is a recent retrospective exhibition that surveys his work of the past two decades. Forty artworks were presented at the K21 in Düsseldorf, through a particular division in dark and bright areas. This catalogue, beyond the visual luxury of artworks’ photographs in a large format, elaborates through six informed texts various aspects of Nicolai’s practice. Among these texts is a short extract from Freidrich Kittler’s celebrated “Gramophone, Film, Typewriter” writing about the brain, perception and the acoustics, and one by Rainer Maria Rilke, written in 1919, describing a fantasy of playing the coronal suture of a human skull with a gramophone needle. The others elucidate the curatorial process, and then the aural, the scientific, the cinematic, and the chromatic aspects of different branches of Nicolai’s extensive production. If the artist is a proclaimed master in challenging our perceptions, through the most sophisticated abstractions of digital and science, this highly refined catalogue (as usual with Nicolai), succeeds in amplifying and supplementing the exhibition experience, becoming another reference in his rich bibliography.