Carsten Nicolai

Milch 10 Hz, 20 Hz, 25 Hz, 40 Hz, 50 Hz, 55 Hz, 75 Hz, 80 Hz, 95 Hz, 110 Hz | London, South Kensington | lambda print face mounted to Plexiglas, in ten parts | 80 x 66cm.

“My foremost interest is the physics of sound”

Carsten Nicolai

Carsten Nicolai is a contemporary sound artist who traveled a circuitous path to art-making. In the mid-1980s, he worked as a gardener before studying landscape design in Dresden, Germany, completing his degree in 1990. Two years later, he co-founded Voxxx.Kulture und Kommunikationszentrum in Chemnitz, Germany, and then founded the music label Raster-Noton in 1999 with his friend and musical collaborator, Olaf Bender.

The German artist has a number of stage pseudonyms, from Alva Noto to Aleph-1. He is a member of Diamond Version (with Olaf Bender), Signal (with Bender and Frank Bretschneider), Cyclo (with Ryoji Ikeda), and the duo Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto.

In 2013, Nicolai participated in the Museum of Modern Art’s first major retrospective on sound art, Soundings: A Contemporary Score, as well as contributed to a collateral group show during  the Venice Biennale this past summer, entitled, Noise, which explored noise as a medium of communication. This concept has remained a central theme in his work since the beginning, as the artist investigates glitches and corrupted data in his large-scale conceptual projects. Nicolai’s artistic practice and concerns undoubtedly linked to his own avant-garde music practice, together embody what some might call a harmonious gesamtkunstwerk.

Nicolai lives and works in Berlin and Chemnitz, Germany.

Additional sources:

Carsten Nicolai in an interview with The Creators Project

The artist’s website

55th Venice Biennale collateral event page

Raster-Noton's website

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