Wolfgang Laib

Post by Aimee Ruoff

Wolfgang Laib is a German conceptual artist who studied medicine. He lives outside a village in Southern Germany and collects his materials from the surrounding land. In an interview for the Journal of Contemporary Art, Laib claims that after studying medicine, he concluded that it was too narrow a field for him to be in. He then began his art practice. His practice holds a range of materials, but his work with pollen is most closely related to my own project.  Laib claims that he would not have this interest in pollen without his origin in medicine. The MoMA website quotes Laib, “Pollen is the potential beginning of the life of the plant. It is as simple, as beautiful, and as complex as this. And of course it has so many meanings. I think everybody who lives knows that pollen is important.”

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Laib collecting dandelion pollen (retrieved from https://christenmattix.wordpress.com/tag/wolfgang-laib/)

Laib collects pollen only in the area surrounding his studio.  He speaks about his studio as a space for him to spend time with his pollen and live among it rather than a space to create or build. His desire is that more people would develop this type of relationship with his material. Laib claims that when a piece is in a space, it changes the life around it. This relationship with the material is the connection that I see between my moss project and Laib’s pollen. While my collecting process was not nearly as intensive, I was purposeful in drawing my material from the forest by my family home. Laib inhabits a space with his pollen, I used my moss as a pillow for one night. It is the connection between artist and material I find inspiring in Laib’s practice.

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In his studio (retrieved from http://www.ondiseno.com/evento_en.php?id=6140)

Link to a film featuring Wolfgang Laib: https://subzero.lib.uoguelph.ca/login?url=http://fod.infobase.com.subzero.lib.uoguelph.ca/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=104666&xtid=131317

Ottmann, Klaus. “Wolfgang Laib.” Journal of Contemporary Art, vol. 1, no. 1, 1988, pp. 90–96.

“Wolfgang Laib | MoMA.” The Museum of Modern Art, http://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/1315.