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Olaf Nicolai

Bumerang (Still #1–121) (2015)

With his “Théorie du nuage,” Hubert Damisch presented a study of what artists have known for a long time: clouds, whose depiction permits for widely varied gradations of abstraction and physicality, occupy a central place in visual art. Olaf Nicolai’s edition for Texte zur Kunst may be read as a cloud study, a genre represented in art history by painters like John Constable, who created almost abstract compositions of colors and surfaces. Yet as in Constable, the delicately blended hues of blue and white also derive from an investigation of concrete wind and weather conditions: the edition consists of stills from a film shot using a camera mounted on a boomerang. Each print represents a different moment during the flight recorded on film. Like most of Nicolai’s photographic works, “Bumerang (Still # 1–121)” was conceived as a series (compare “Z Point,” 2013, or “Hotel Nacional Rio,” 2014), and it is only in the context of this series that the images fully reveal themselves: the movement arrested in the individual film still resurfaces in the juxtaposition with other images. This movement also gestures toward another of Nicolai’s works: in his contribution to this year’s Venice Biennial, three protagonists appear as living statues on the German pavilion’s roof. Testing boomerang throws and exploring the ideal aerodynamic and climate conditions and throwing techniques, they also demonstrate the ritual quality of the object’s perpetual return. For the production of this edition, it was equipped with a camera, becoming, in effect, a drone, though its eye was trained on the sky rather than the ground.

Archival pigment print, 32.5 x 50 cm, edition: 100 + 20 A.P., numbered and signed on the back, € 350.- plus shipping.This is an edition of individual film stills; each still is unique!