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PRINT January 2010

books

Carsten Nicolai’s Grid Index

A page from Carsten Nicolai’s Grid Index (Gestalten, 2009).

Carsten Nicolai, Grid Index (Berlin: Gestalten, 2009), 312 pages.

A BOOK IS AN X-AXIS. The format is almost always linear; the content, bound in a prescribed order, marches single file. Grid Index, Carsten Nicolai’s exhaustive compendium of grids and tilings, is no exception. Progressing along its lone axis, the book is a sequence of 294 different dissections of the Cartesian plane. It’s a difficult kind of dimensional collapse, arranging the planar into the linear, though imperfect at moments, Nicolai is at home working within self-imposed constraints. The artist’s affinity for grids, the Wim Crouwel–esque typography on the book’s cover, and much of his previous work, including his spare musical releases as Alva Noto, suggest as much. Now Nicolai offers us a generative codex, a source manual for some of the geometric structures underlying the visual world.

Grid Index is a convergence

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