Alicja Kwade made sculptures and object that conveys
Alicja Kwade made sculptures and object that conveys vernacular, rather than traditional, things. Her recent show, Anvil, was a fascinating example of her continued interest in making works that speak for themselves, which is one of the reasons I was drawn to it.The sculptures in Anvil were all made of wood, and one might think of them as being made of wood. There were also three wall-hung sculptures that were made of plaster and papier-mâché. It is possible that they were made of papier-mâché, but they look more like wood—and a bit more paper—and are rather messy. In addition, two of the three works are quite heavy. The tallest is 11 feet high and 10 feet wide; the smallest is 8 feet high and 10 feet wide. The tallest is 9 1/2 feet high and 9 1/2 feet wide, the smallest is 6 feet high and 8 feet wide. One of the works in the show is called A Void, and one of its elements is a piece of white wood, cut and sewn to form an aperture. The piece is situated in a room, and is a kind of opaque box; a lightbulb stands on the window sill. It is possible that the piece is transparent, and the piece as a whole is opaque, but the white plaster is quite visible. The other piece is a piece of a stone. It is made of plaster and papier-mâché, and the shape of the piece suggests a cross-section of a stone, or perhaps a piece of marble. The stone is broken and its texture suggests a pattern of chisel marks. The piece is somewhat weighty. The wooden cutting seems to represent a certain amount of labor—a construction of thin lines. The cutting of the plaster also suggests a construction of labor. The carving of the stone seems to have something to do with the labor of cutting and sewing.
vernacular African mythology in ways that can be understood without a preconceived meaning. Her medium is wood and wire. She takes found materials, or salvages used objects, and in some cases finds solutions to the problems of the work by employing the materials in her work, the same way that architects do with materials.In the end, all these works are tied to the idea of the audience, of the viewer who, as it chooses to engage, is permitted to enter into dialogue with the works. The sculptures and the objects are made of wood, wires, and wire, suggesting that they are intended to be used as social projections. The sculptures, though, have a mooring-board quality that is at odds with their appearance; the object that appears to be a sculpture is in fact made of wood and wire. For all her works seem like social projections, all these are quietly observant and self-conscious. They convey a sense of a simple, mundane world that can be experienced without the aid of any preconceived notions. They demonstrate that there are some possibilities in the experience of the ordinary and that the exhibition of these works is a constructive, not simply an aesthetic, project.
Alicja Kwade made sculptures and object that conveys vernacular customs and traditions. She spoke about making them in a different language, showing how they might be read and seen as she translated them into concrete forms. In her earlier work, she was concerned with the use of vernacular objects, as in the paper towel she made by pouring and then blotting paper towels, or the paper-towel that she used to sign her work The Signature of a Rope Maker, 1994. In these sculptures she also brought into play an almost folkloric activity: using a wooden stick to draw or mark the objects she used as trompe loeil, as in the case of her use of a whip in The Whip, 1995, or a leather leash in The Law of the Hand, 1995. In the same way, she used her knitted scarf in such a way that it became a fragile, sculpturelike object, as in the case of a photograph in which she is seen from behind and holding the scarf between her breasts. The scarf became a tool of control, a signifier of power and control.The artist was also concerned with the transformation of a theatrical setting into a domestic space. In her hands, objects and spaces become the products of an intimate relationship between the viewer and the object. For her part, the objects are in a state of alienation from the viewer. Yet, in a sense, the objects are also alienated from themselves: the knitted scarf becomes a self-evident sign of ersatz individuality that is simultaneously a symbol of pleasure and oppression.In a series of drawings, A Little Diary, 1997, she made a diary of daily activities that are reproduced in all of the drawings, in which she appears as a young woman engaged in various activities. These include: walking, cooking, knitting, and knitting a scarf; talking to a man; and knitting a sweater with a sweater on it. The diary is a microcosm of the domestic world in which it is written.
Alicja Kwade made sculptures and object that conveys vernacular beauty while maintaining an aspect of their own identity and implying the possibility of a more complex and poetic reading. Her pieces are fairly small and the pieces appear to be made from materials such as cut paper and rice paper, or from the raw materials of everyday life.
Alicja Kwade made sculptures and object that conveys vernacular, yet highly sensual and poetic. The works were made of wood and resin, and ranged in age from the relatively small, Mylar Puff, 2008, to the gargantuan, Meltedwood, 2008, that came into the show. These objects, which were hung in clusters, evoked a variety of sources, from old chairs to cars, boats, and airplanes to a more contemporary mythopoetic base. The materials were also a deliberate nod to the show itself—a carpeting-covered table, a bowl of bread, and a thick slab of marble dust.A broad selection of works from the past decade also appeared in the gallerys back room, which consisted of a suite of Künstler murals—the artists own works, in an overall pattern of line, shape, and type—and a wall with a tree motif. This arrangement formed a kind of landscape on which a cluster of sculptures, fashioned from plastic bags, sat like sculptures. These delicate works, placed against a backdrop of sugary, candy-colored paint, brought to mind a variety of childhood favorite objects: plastic coffee cups, a box of colored chewing gum, and a variety of toys.In these works, the paintings and sculptures evoked a depth of feeling that seems unique in Küns work. Her sculptures, for example, seem fragile and fragile, but they are also monumental and elegant. A hand-embroidered T-shirt decorated with a facsimile of a sad-sack logo (including a quote from Pee-wees Playhouse) was found tucked under a napkin laid on the floor. The clothing-shaped motif, which is reminiscent of a hole, is painted on the shirt, giving the image a slight masculine aura. Another T-shirt, this one in pink and white, was pinned to a wall and a small, decorative plastic bag that had been laid over it.