Olaf Nicolai: Oskar. A Camouflage
10.09.2021 – 10.10.2021
The Munich Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism is pleased to present the site-specific installation Oskar. A Camouflage by Olaf Nicolai at the Max-Mannheimer-Platz. Using camouflage to disguise the square and cause it to apparently disappear, Nicolai creates a complex restaging of the site’s significant history. At the same time, he situates this history within a broader context by referencing the work of the Bauhaus artist Oskar Schlemmer who was ostracized by the Nazis. In this way, the installation also addresses the conditions for art and artists under a dictatorship.
The installation’s abstract camouflage pattern derives from a design Schlemmer made in 1941 and echoes the radical modernity of the Bauhaus. However, Schlemmer’s design was not intended as art but rather as military camouflage—a fatal symbiosis of painting and war that perverted the constructive exchange between the genres of architecture and painting that the Bauhaus had propagated only a few years earlier.