16.9. - 10.12.2000
The German artist Wolfgang Laib (b. 1950) uses natural materials such as pollen, milk, rice and beeswax as inspiration for his art. Laib collects the pollen he needs for his art in the area near his home in southern Germany. This work, which is almost like a rite, takes several weeks, and is done in accordance with natures own rhythms, following the flowering of the hazelnut tree, the cowslip, the dandelion, the pine tree and the buttercup. Laib lives and works in close relation with the course of the seasons. During the winter months he makes other pieces in his studio, such as marble bases for milkstones.
Laibs work has simple visual forms. He spreads pollen on the floor or puts it in glass jars; he makes mounds of rice; he builds rooms and ships out of beeswax and houses out of marble and sealing wax. Although not a sculptor in the traditional sense of the word, Laib succeeds in arousing strong visual sensations in the minds of the spectators.
Wolfgang Laib graduated with a degree in medicine from the University of Tübingen in 1974, but immediately after graduation he began his career as an artist. By working as an artist rather than in the medical profession he felt that he would be better able to achieve the objectives he had set himself.
For the last 25 years Laib has created a body of influential work which seems to flee in the face of all accepted forms of traditional art and aesthetics. It seems impossible to classify the artist and his oeuvre. His art shows the influence of eastern religions and cultures as well as the mystic of medieval Persia. In addition, however, there are references to western art and especially to the experiences of nature found in German Romanticism. In the modern spectator Wolfgang Laibs art evokes memories of something both ancient and universal, namely the ability to wonder and admire the primitive beauty of nature.
7 800 visitors attended the exhibition.