Nik Nowak focuses on the affective dimensions and potential of sound and space in his multi-media interdisciplinary work that re-engineers the formal boundaries between installations, performances, sculptures, films or paintings. He has become renowned for his use of sound as an identifying and socially binding element as well as sound systems as cultural transmitters and acoustic weapons.
The focus in the exhibition 12 Töne, however, is not itself on sound but rather the sculptural plane and the exploration of the resonating relationship or, more properly, the relationship of resonance, between sound and space. While the sculptural character of the objects recalls a post-Minimalist vocabulary, a manual, handcrafted component is visible in the ceramic horns. Alongside the conscious limitation to fewer compositional parameters, a gestural and intuitive working process manifests in the use of materials. The strictly black and white horns look like artefacts. Seemingly slick and simple at first glance, further observation reveals an oscillating relationship between inner and outer and an amorphous relationship of female and male forms. Mouths, ears and lips appear by association and the openings become all-absorbing black holes.
Whether the horns in 12 Töne are about ear trumpets, megaphones, the visual or material enlargement of the diminutive scale of the human auditory canal, or simply miniature versions of the gigantic loudspeaker modules with which Nowak’s works most usually engage, remains undecided. Similar to a laboratory situation, the ceramics are presented on stark aluminium surfaces as if an examination is soon to be conducted.
A series of new collages and photographic works by the artist will accompany the ceramic sculptures.
Nik Nowak, born 1980 in Mainz, studied at the Universität der Künste (University of the Arts) in Berlin. In 2007 he took part in Xiang Jing’s sculpture class at the Shanghai Normal University, China. He was a master’s student of Lothar Baumgarten.
Nik Nowak’s works have been shown in national and international institutions and exhibitions including KINDL – Centre for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Berlinische Galerie, Berlin; Marta Herford, Herford; Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg; Philharmonie Paris, France; Muzeul National de Art al Romaniei, Bucharest, Romania; and Art Basel Miami Beach, USA.