17 December 2012

Art I like - Wolfgang Laib

Wolfgang Laib is better known for his work with natural materials, especially pollen, than for his photographs, but this one, "Temple", had me looking for a long time. The scale and the steepness make it look precarious;  tending inward and downward, it seems like it could or should be an inversion and a negative for an upward-tending, solid structure. It's from a 2002 exhibition of various sites he encountered on his travels, as well as "mountains" of pollen and "rice houses".

On first encountering Laib's work, at the modern art museum in Oxford, I didn't comprehend what it was - from the doorway of a room, you saw the floor covered in yellow powder. Once you learn that it's pollen, all sorts of questions arise - how (and from how large an area, how many plants) was it gathered, what will happen to it, has the artist or his workers developed hayfever....
Laib collecting dandelion pollen (image from here)
In this interview, Laib says, "the meadow with flowers where I collect the pollen is something very different from how you see it here, a real concentrated experience without any distractions, nothing else."

He also works with beeswax, rice, and milk. "The work I make is very, very simple, but then it’s also very, very complex. For me, the simpler the work’s statement the more levels it can have. If I fill up a stone with milk, and somebody else has coffee with his breakfast and tries to make a thousand things a day, it’s the complete opposite. Those stones were my first works after I had studied medicine for six years, and somehow they contain so much that is the opposite of what daily life is today. For me, art is the most important challenge for everything, and I think such things can be the challenges."

1 comment:

scott davidson said...

Beautiful banner at your site as well, I am reminded of some wall paintings by the Mexican artist, Diego Rivera, such as this one http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8BWNY4. You browse more murals of his at wahooart.com.