27th May – 17th July 2016
Events: See Events for the event and education programme
The trailer of the exhibitions of Christiane Löhr, Jonathan Monk and Jan van der Ploeg you find here.
On the work of Christiane Löhr
“Above all I’m interested in the motivation that moves the line.”
Sculpture is a term that comes up again and again in conversation with Christiane Löhr. Whether the artist is talking about her drawings, which hang delicately on large sheets from the wall or lie in a stack on the table of her studio in Cologne, or about the small or large-scale works in space created from chains, plant stalks or horse hair. The formats can vary fundamentally in her work. The last large pillar in space, which she realised in 2015 for the Vangi Sculpture Garden Museum in Shizuoka in Japan, was created out of horse hair and six metres in height. But she focuses on more than just creating form in a particular size. The artist, who also works in Italy but is standing in her light-filled Cologne studio, describes it thus: “For me it’s about appropriating space, in all my works.” In drawing, therefore, her interest is in how the line is made, what the line does and how it absorbs the space around it, or can change that space. And her works in space too are about taking possession, and at the same time transformation, through placement in space.
The numerous sculptures in her studio are often reminiscent of architecture such as domes or utopian buildings. Yet architecture is not what interests and motivates the artist. Instead she is more engaged by the pursuit of movement, starting from a central axis. You can read principles of growth and construction within this, less so a concrete template from nature. Phrases and words like “making principles of growth visible” or equally “honing the consciousness of structures” soon make you think of artists like Mario Merz, who is generally categorised under so-called Arte Povera, labelled as ‘art with humble or simple materials’, including organic materials. Even if it is not fair to hold onto this thought, because it is well known that comparisons exclude more than they include, an important, delicate connecting sequence can be drawn here: Christiane Löhr’s works illustrate circumstances and connections from our immediate present, and do so in a discreet and yet insistent manner. They make us sensitive to the principles, systems and intricacies of our surroundings. Not just to her chosen materials, but also, particularly, to the atmospheric shifts of a given room that she can effect. For space and time are also terms that can be heard repeatedly in the conversation. Like when the artist speaks about slow or swift lines and movement on paper or within a space. She is interested in the motivation that moves the line, what is hidden behind the movement, the speed the line possesses, whether it could extend much further and so on. The quality of the line is key for her, lines which are sometimes in oil pastel on paper, sometimes drawn through space with materials like horse hair or other natural materials.
How sculptural the drawn line within this can be emerges when looking closely at some of the sheets. After swiftly drawing individual lines that may turn out on the page to be delicate here, more forceful there, Christiane Löhr then abrades the black pigment bit by bit, rubbing it deeper into the page and intensifying what was made quickly to generate a new form of materiality. The remaining white of the page changes too, depending on how the line and its surroundings, what Löhr calls the sfumato, course outwards. Almost like a relief the lines build up on the delicate background, if, say, the artist formulates the main lines with her pencil and in a further step comes back again and again, still in pencil, to move along the line first laid down, seeming almost to damage the sheet in that place. A fine ridge is generated through these gestures and again underlines the sculptural nature and the materiality of her drawing.This also answers the persistent question when considering her works, the question whether she is first and foremost interested in drawing or sculpture. “I constantly come from three-dimensionality, from volume” Christiane Löhr puts it. “And really,” the artist continues, “it is always about placement in space, be that in the sculptures or with the drawings.” This becomes clear when you can experience all of Löhr’s works installed in space: the structure of the drawings has just as key a position as the empty spaces of the paper; the sculptural arrangements are as important as proximities, intensities and activated gaps. And how do these precise decisions about placement in space emerge, like those too now becoming perceptible in the Kunsthaus Baselland? How does Christiane Löhr find these key points of sensitivity within the space?
“When I visited the Kunsthaus Baselland,” the artist describes, “the upper Kabinett galleries instantly appealed to me. The architectural situation, that the roof space and the coffered ceiling run, uninterrupted, through three very different spaces, gave me the sense of being fixed between the floor and the ceiling while I was walking through. This strong sense of vertical tension is carried over into the works that I am exhibiting. There is, for example, the column from horse hair, which literally draws a vertical line through the height of the room and directly touches ceiling and floor. The material of this spatial installation is almost ‘nothing’; you can hold it in your hand, yet nonetheless the column forms a body that develops a subtle presence through the fine texture of the knotted horse hairs.” One thing thus becomes particularly clear: it is essential to be with, to spend time in the space with Christiane Löhr’s works – and, not least, to take possession of the space in which you find yourself.
Curator: Ines Goldbach, Director Kunsthaus Baselland
Assistant: Eva Falge
Born 1965 in Wiesbaden. Lives and works in Cologne and Prato, Italy. 1985 Egyptology, Archeology, Classics and History studies at the University of Bonn. 1986 Art Education and German studies at the University of Mainz. 1993 First examination for Gymnasium teaching. 1994 Fine Art studies with Jannis Kounellis at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. 1996 Master student with Jannis Kounellis
Grants and Awards
2009 Residency CCA Andratx, Mallorca, 2006 Kunststiftung NRW scholarship recipient, Art Foundation North Rhine-Westphalia, 2002 Warhol Grant, Headlands Center for the Arts, San Francisco, 2001 Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler Foundation prize recipient, Rockenhausen, 2000 DAAD grant recipient for travel in India, Cité Internationale des Arts grant and studio recipient, Paris, 1997 Vordemberge-Gildewart Foundation grant recipient, Museum Wiesbaden, 1996 University of Mainz grant recipient, Rhineland-Palatinate federal grant recipient, 1995 Heinrich Böll Foundation study grant recipient, 1993 City of Mainz study grant for the Summer Academy in Salzburg
Solo Exhibitions (selection):
2015: displuvio, Jason McCoy Gallery, New York (USA); lined, Taguchi Fine Art, Tokyo (JP); encircling the orbit, Vangi Sculpture Garden Museum, Shizuoka (JP); Galerie Werner Klein, Köln (D); 2014: Bernier/Eliades Gallery, Athens (GR); Tucci Russo Studio per l’Arte Contemporanea, Torre Pellice/Turin (I); permeabile, Kunst- und Kulturstiftung Opelvillen Rüsselsheim (D); línies contínues, Blueproject Foundacion, Barcelona (E); 2013: Jason McCoy Gallery, New York (USA); Taguchi Fine Art, Tokyo (JP); 2012: Jason McCoy Gallery, New York (USA); 2011: vertikal, Galerie Werner Klein, Köln (D); HerderRaumFürKunst, Köln (D); 2010: dilatare lo spazio, Galleria Oredaria, Rome (I); dividere il vuoto, Villa e Collezione Panza, Varese (I); 2009: sortint de l’embull, Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró, Palma de Mallorca (E); 2008: Galleria Salvatore + Caroline Ala, Milan (I); 2007: CDAN Centro di Arte y Naturaleza, Huesca (E); Gallery A-quad, Takenaka Corporation, Tokyo (JP); 2006: sculture, PIAC Piattaforma Internazionale Arte Contemporanea, Ragusa (I); 2005: Heidelberger Kunstverein; Kunstverein Ludwigshafen; Kunstverein Arnsberg; Galleria Salvatore + Caroline Ala, Milan (I); 2004: Galerie Werner Klein, Köln (D); Studio Stefania Miscetti, Rome (I); Tendersi dentro – stretching towards the inside, Fattoria di Celle, Gori Collection, Pistoia (I); 2003: Salone Villa Romana, Florence (I); Hancock Museum, Newcastle, project by Locus+; Galleria Salvatore + Caroline Ala, Milan (I); Wie die Dinge den Raum berühren, Kunstmuseum Bonn (D); Christiane Löhr / Sofi Zezmer, Nassauischer Kunstverein, Wiesbaden; 2002: Kunstverein Münsterland, Coesfeld; 2001: Un lavoro: un’opera, un’istallazione di Christiane Löhr una poesia di Nico Orengo, già VIA NUOVA per l’Arte contemporanea, Florence (I); 2000: artothek, Köln (D); Camera Obscura, San Casciano dei Bagni (I); 1999: Galleria Salvatore + Caroline Ala, Milan (I); Galerie Hafemann, Wiesbaden (D); Forum Kunst, Rottweil (D); 1998: Objekte, Studentisches Kulturzentrum, Belgrad; 1997: Das Übergewicht des Kleinen, Mittelrhein-Museum Koblenz (D); Objekt und Zeichnung, Kunstverein Trier (D); 1996: Objekte und Installationen, Galerie Brückenturm, Mainz (D)
Christiane Löhr, small dome, 2008, plant stalks, 10,5 x 8 x 8 cm. Photo: Wolfgang Burat
Christiane Löhr, Kleine konkave Form, 2016. plant stalks 4,5 x 9,5 x 8 cm
photo: Simon Vogel