The Buchmann Gallery is delighted to present a series of new beeswax sculptures by Wolfgang Laib (*1950 in Metzingen, Germany), which the artist created this summer in his studio.
Positioned on a wall bracket that spans the entire breadth of the room, these small objects made of fragrant, golden-yellow beeswax have a sensuous and very compelling presence. Each object is hand-shaped using 5cm slabs of beeswax. The concentration and purity of the natural material gives the sculptures a serene beauty and a certain sacrosanctity. Wolfgang Laib succeeds in transcending the pure form, for instance a ziggurat, to imbue each piece with an auratic presence. The pieces have an astonishing power, particularly if one considers that it takes around 150,000 bees to produce one kilogram of beeswax. Since ancient times, humans have used beeswax for myriad purposes; cult objects and grave goods shaped of beeswax have been found in the tombs of the pharaohs, and beeswax writing tablets, amulets and sculptures are known to have been used in antiquity.
Alongside the wax sculptures, Wolfgang Laib has also created two bright yellow mountains of hazelnut pollen, collected by the artist himself, which complement the wax sculptures on the shelf. The potentiality of these works is vast, and it extends far beyond the empirical. One is reminded of Wolfgang Laib’s famous work, which comprises five mountains of pollen in a row called “Die fünf unbesteigbaren Berge / The Five Mountains Not to Climb on”. Wolfgang Laib continually shifts and dissolves the scales of large and small.
The Museum of Modern Art New York honoured Wolfgang Laib’s singular and deeply engaging work with one of the artist’s large pollen installations in 2013; the museum’s collection also includes a large beeswax room.
For additional information on the artist or for visual materials on the works in the exhibition, please do not hesitate to contact the gallery at any time.
Born 1950 in Metzingen. Lives and works in Southern Germany.
|1968-1974||Studied Medicine University of Tuebingen|
2015 Praemium Imperiale for Sculpture, The Japan Art Foundation
Neue Pinakothek, Munich
Sprengel Museum, Hannover
Kolumba Diözesanmuseum, Cologne
Centre Pompidou, Paris
CAPC, Musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux
Collections de l’Etat Français, France
Musée d’art contempoarin, Nîmes, France
Musée départemental de Rochechouart, Rochechouart
Museé de Grenoble
Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Turin
De Pont Foundation, Tilburg, The Netherlands
LAC Museum of Contemporary Art, Lugano
Kunstmuseum St. Gallen
The Art Institute of Chicago
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
The Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
The Phillips Collection, Washington D.C.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.
San Francisco Museum of Art
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki
Toyota Municipal Art Museum, Toyota