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Wolfgang Laib finds spirituality in the simplicity of everyday, organic substances – milk, pollen, beeswax, rice – that provide sustenance or engender life. In 1975 he created his first Milkstone in what has become an ongoing series of elemental works (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. Though an inert object, this work/installation/performance requires ritualistic participation.
Laib performs the first act of pouring the milk when the piece is displayed, but after this initial gesture, the collector – or museum staff – must clean and refill the stone each day it is on view.
Laib displays his laboriously gathered pollen in simple glass jars or sifts it through sheets of muslin directly onto the floor to create large, square fields of spectacular color. He also molds the brilliantly pigmented dust into cones, as in The Five Mountains Not to Climb On. Though intimate in scale and intensely fragile, this hazelnut pollen work alludes to the monumentality suggested by its title. The notion that there is infinitude in the infinitesimal is beautifully manifest in Laib’s spare but highly aesthetic practice.
More information via Sean Kelly Gallery
art, art installation, beeswax, installation, pollen