International exhibitions Olaf Nicolai, Il Balcone de Frederico, Ebenalp, Wasserauen

International 2012 Archives

Olaf Nicolai, Il Balcone de Frederico
Ebenalp, Wasserauen (Switzerland)

Summer 2012

07.09 - 25.11.2012

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Press release by art-agenda

The Appenzell Biennial is pleased to present a site-specific project by Olaf Nicolai on 30 June 2012 on the Ebenalp (elevation: 1,644 meters) in the Appenzellerland.

The Edelweiss is a special flower. It stands for bravery and valor, for unspoiled nature, for purity, innocence, and eternal love. For the alpinists, it has always been a symbol of their passion for the mountains and a metaphor for the noble traits that characterize an alpinist. "For the members of the Alpine Club, the Edelweiss is not only the most beautiful blossom of the upper Alps, but also a symbol for the imperishable inner beauty of the noble and good," reads an entry in the Swiss Alpine Club Yearbook from 1891/1892. For the Alpine nation Switzerland, Edelweiss is practically a national symbol. It is no wonder then, that this perennial plant from the aster family adorns the largest of the Swiss coins—the five Franc piece, the Fünfliber.

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2012. All Rights Reserved

Exhibition Summer 2012, opening at 30 June 2012. Directions to Wasserauen, Ebenalp Cable Car Station. By car via Appenzell–Steinegg–Weissbad. With public transportation via Gossau or St.Gallen to Wasserauen.

Last year, Olaf Nicolai, who frequently uses minimal shifts or changes in his works to challenge our perception of reality, had 479 Leontopodium alpinum seedlings planted in a 6 x 6-meter-large square area on the Ebenalp. Now, at the beginning of July, they are starting to blossom and the white square will be visible until autumn. Thanks to Nicolai, the otherwise rare wildflower will now appear en masse and in cultivated formation: a vision of passion made suddenly manifold.

Nicolai entices us to the Ebenalp with beauty and romance, making use of the language and aesthetics of marketing and advertisements: he repeats this symbol of Swissness, the country's cachet and cliché, the national airline logo, which adorns wristwatches and chocolate wrappers alike—and surprises us with the Alpine answer to Malevich: a carefully planted, 6 x 6-meter-large white square.