Wolfgang Laib | the artist
The artist Wolfgang Laib
Born 1950, Metzingen, Germany.
Lives and works in Hochdorf, .
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Original artworks, prints, exhibition posters, monographs, books, collectibles.
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wolfgang laib, a retrospective
"I’m living very isolated outside of a small village – it is, maybe, like on an island – isolated from people, from society, but also from art and artists. For me it is very important to be independent and to be forced to do my own things.
Wolfgang Laib (Metzingen 1950) gained a reputation by way of his sculptures and installations that consist of natural materials; due to the intense color and smell of these materials, the works offer a strong sensory experience. Wachsraum (1992), for instance, is a narrow corridor whose walls are made of pure beeswax. The honey-colored slabs glow beneath a single lightbulb hanging in the space, and the sweet perfume of the beeswax is overwhelming. Blütenstaub von Kiefern (1993) consists of a radiant yellow field of pure pine pollen that has been scattered on the floor. For other works Laib has used soft and perishable materials, such as milk and rice, in combination with harder substances, such as metals and marble. Each time he opts for materials with a certain intensity. This has not only to do with their color and substance, but also with their intrinsic quality as a source of vital energy. The respect for this vital energy seems to be one of the essential aspects of his work. In the collection catalogue of De Pont, it is described as follows: Despite their fragility, the works of Laib possess a timeless and enduring quality. They allude to the beauty and preciousness of things that are simply there and, at the same time, to the primary, unexcessive necessities of life. The rectangles of pure pollen, which he makes by sifting this onto the floor, seem to be a sheer celebration of the inconceivable intensity of the color. Simple tin bowls with small heaps of rice grain, placed in a row on the floor, suggest that the little which is needed for subsistance is abundantly present? In contrast to the loftiness of his themes, his artistry has a modest and subdued nature…
The Five Mountains Not to Climb On
wolfgang laib ‘rice houses’
Wolfgang Laib finds spirituality in the simplicity of everyday, organic substancesmilk, pollen, beeswax, ricethat provide sustenance or engender life. In 1975 he created his first Milkstone in what has become an ongoing series of elemental sculptures. A rectangular block of polished white marble containing a slight depression on its upper surface, the piece is filled with a thin layer of milk to foster the illusion of a solid form…
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 hight Ziggurat are made from bees wax while he also works with bronze temple bowls, milk, marble, rice and bronze…