This show explores the moiré effect in motion. The word ‘moiré’ refers to visual interference patterns, which are created when two or more layers of simple dot, line, or grid structures overlap, producing an additional pattern on top of the original layers.
Often an unwanted side-effect in printing processes, Nicolai uses the moiré effect to emphasize its potential on both a scientific and artistic level. The artist explains:
“The moiré phenomenon stimulates essential questions about how human perception affects our understanding of the world: Do we perceive reality (through seeing, hearing, feeling, etc.) as it is really constituted, or do we misinterpret it by adding or subtracting crucial elements which consequently change it’”
The optical effects of moiré suggest that overlapping grids work similar to an optical lens, generating distortions or magnifications which make two-dimensional structures bear three-dimensional impressions.
As with many of Nicolai’s works, moiré glass engages in an interactive creative process with the viewer; as he or she rotates the five silk-screened glass plates, attached vertically to a central column, the overlapping patterns produce a variety of optical illusions. With moiré rota, the artist creates light moirés using LED lights suspended from cable strings and attached to two rotating columns. A third installation, moire schatten, will transform a wall into a convex membrane box which fills and empties with air, spinning black satin strings and producing moiré patterns where the strings and the shadows that they cast overlap.
Other works on view in this exhibition include moiré tape, in which the moiré effect is produced by two radial gratings of magnetic tape, superimposed onto each other on the gallery wall, and moiré film, where moving black-and-white line and dot patterns will create changing visual impressions while emitting sounds composed from an audio analysis of the moiré phenomena.