Leading European artist Wolfgang Laibís work is often made as a kind of meditation. Each spring, for example, Laib goes out into the fields and patiently collects the pollen as it comes into season, which he then uses in what have become his most well-known works. This third Balnaves Foundation Sculpture Project includes examples from most of the works that have made Wolfgang Laib so loved and revered around the world over the last 20 years. Laib will also be creating a new work for the exhibition.
Laib spent part of his youth in southern India and the experience had a profound impact on his life and work. Having studied medicine, it was through his exposure to temple offerings in Tamil Nadu that he realised how he could begin to make art as a form of devotion. His signature works with pollen are good examples: the pollen is sometimes shown in jars but most popularly sprinkled onto the floor to form a glowing yellow rectangle which has the quality of a horizontal Rothko except that it also has a marvellous fragrance. Other works such as the 4.5 metre height Ziggurat are made from bees wax while he also works with bronze temple bowls, milk, marble, rice and bronze.
Edmund Capon, director, Art Gallery of New South Wales said, "Sculpture has developed as one of the most vital and diverse artforms since the late 20th century and yet it is rarely given the same public profile and display space as photography, video and painting - perhaps because it is less convenient to transport, store and display, particularly when it comes to large scale installation works."
"It is therefore exciting for the Gallery to have a sponsor like Neil Balnaves, who specifically supports this program of five sculpture projects. The first of these, Still Life, curated by Wayne Tunnicliffe, brought together a diverse group of younger Australian sculptors. The second was a survey of the work of senior Australian sculptor Robert Owen, and now this significant exhibition of works by Wolfgang Laib."
The Wolfgang Laib exhibition is presented courtesy of ifa (Institut fuer Auslandsbeziehungen/Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations) and supported by the Goethe-Institut Australia.
installation of Pollen from pine 1999