‘Wolfgang Laib’
Wolfgang Laib
29 Apr—30 Jul 2022

Wolfgang Laib

29 Apr—30 Jul 2022
Buchmann Galerie
Press release

Buchmann Galerie is delighted to announce a solo exhibition by Wolfgang Laib for Gallery Weekend Berlin.

 

Wolfgang Laib’s quiet, meditative work makes him one of the most fascinating artists of our time. The exhibition is centered on sculptures from his Rice Houses series. The mostly elongated, slightly stocky, gable-shaped objects are reminiscent in size and shape of precious reliquary shrines. In fact, the sculptures positioned on the floor are objects made of wood, filled inside with rice and covered with sealing wax, Burmese lacquer, tin, aluminum, or silver. Sealed in this manner, the objects retain an inner something that remains inaccessible to viewers but which holds significant power in the imagination. The reduced outer form and precious materiality imbue the Rice Houses with a certain auratic power. Inherent to the sculptures is a seemingly timeless, original—and universal—quality.

 

Cyclicality typifies the artistic work of Wolfgang Laib, a quality that applies to the pollen works, the milk stones, or beeswax works. The first Rice Houses were created by Laib in 1984. He has repeatedly returned to this group of works ever since. Presented in the exhibition is a triangular-shaped Rice House covered in thin aluminum and embedded within small mountains of rice. The work is from the first year of the series and was previously included in the artist’s retrospective at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC in 2000 and the Haus der Kunst in Munich in 2002. In keeping with the cyclical nature of the work, this early sculpture is placed in dialogue with other Rice Houses from the last twenty years. The artist is not concerned with innovation or formal developments, but with continuity.

 

Wolfgang Laib’s approach is remarkable for its merging of Western minimalist art currents and a spirituality sustained by his interests in Eastern—in particular Indian—philosophy, aesthetics, and religion. Representative of this is his egg-shaped granite sculpture, a Brahmanda. Translated from Sanskrit the title means “Egg of the Universe.” Harald Szeemann, a supporter of Wolfgang Laib for many years as a curator, described him as an artist who “reveals immensely vast inner expanses through the smallest sculptural gestures.” Two wall works comprising triangular objects sealed with Burmese lacquer also demonstrates the artist’s interests in elementary forms that link together the most diverse cultures as well as in exploring form and material as conveyors of archaic knowledge.

 

Wolfgang Laib (b. 1950 in Metzingen, Germany) created his first Brahmanda in 1972 while studying medicine. The artist took part in documenta in 1982 and 1987. His most notable exhibitions include presentations at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (2000); Dallas Museum of Art (2001); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2002); Fondation Beyeler, Basel (2005), and MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2010), as well as the artist's largest pollen work to date presented at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2013. A permanent wax room was also installed in 2013 at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. Wolfgang Laib was awarded the Praemium Imperiale art prize in 2015. An exhibition of Wolfgang Laib’s work is currently on view at the Bündner Kunstmuseum Chur.

 

Works by the artist are represented in numerous private and public collections, including Center Pompidou, Paris; Kunsthaus, Zurich; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Neue Pinakothek, Munich; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC; Kunstmuseum Stuttgart; Sprengel Museum, Hanover; Kunstmuseum St. Gallen; the Phillips Collection, Washington DC; the San Francisco Museum of Art and many more.

 

This is Wolfgang Laib’s eighteenth solo exhibition at Buchmann Gallery since the collaboration began in Switzerland in 1987 and then in parallel in Germany as well since 1995. For more information on the artist or images of his work, please feel free to contact the gallery at any time.

‘Wolfgang Laib’

Wolfgang Laib

Born 1950 in Metzingen. Lives and works in Southern Germany.

Education
1968-1974 Studied Medicine University of Tuebingen
Grants and Awards

2015 Praemium Imperiale for Sculpture, The Japan Art Foundation

Solo Exhibitions

2022
2021
2020
2018
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1993
1992
1991
1990
1989
1988
1987
1986
1985
1984
1983
1982
1981
1980
1979
1978
1976

Group Exhibitions

2022
2021
2020
2019
2018
2017
2016
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
1990
1989
1988
1987
1986
1985
1983
1982
1981
1980
Selected Collections

Kunstmuseum Bonn 

Kunstmuseum Stuttgart

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

Kunsthaus, Zürich

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