When you enter an installation by Claudia Wieser, you become immersed in a Gesamtkunstwerk. Geometric, often serial forms made of mirrored surfaces and bright colours, wooden pedestals and platforms covered with tiles, wall prints with details of found, casual looking photographs are all arranged to form loose stages.
Lobby is the title of Claudia Wieser's exhibition - and with this association the artist already goes beyond the parameters of beauty, aesthetics, and harmony that are frequently ascribed to her work.
For her fourth exhibition at Sies + Höke Galerie, she has separated the main room into small compartments: Mini-cabinets, covered in wallpaper, are placed along the gallery walls, with a feel of private rooms or relaxation areas.
Her 5 x 5 cm tile pictures, for example, have the effect of concrete thanks to a special glaze; smaller mirror works made of stainless steel and copper exude a smooth coolness, while artificial leather upholstery appears in other places. The lobby - a passageway and waiting area which does not give permission to linger, which we are familiar with from hotels, commercial venues and official institutions - becomes the open frame of a picture, in which we can abandon ourselves to a dreamlike relationship game of clear shapes, essential materials and figurative hints.
We move through a world of memories, rediscoveries and pure fantasy. The classical avant-garde, from Constructivism to Bauhaus, is as much a part of this as are references to interior design, film sets and theatre backdrops - Wieser's art essentially consists of creating atmospheres that make us think and feel our surroundings in a new way.
"I always work in dialogue - be it with the space, with the exhibition title or with an experience such as a play or film. But this trigger is less important for the viewer than for myself"
"My works are not didactic. I want to touch the viewer. Our existence, the human dilemma is always a background noise, even if it is never directly visible"
With her, pedestals and mirror pieces, photo wallpapers, wall reliefs and podiums are always to be seen within a wider context, as elements in space that evoke a certain mood.
Works of art, in her opinion, are never to be viewed in isolation, but are part of a certain atmosphere. Scenes and cultural cross references take place in front of the viewer's inner eye, removing us from reality and allowing us to focus our attention on things that suddenly acquire qualities quite different from those that everyday life would ever have taught us.
Claudia Wieser: Generations
The Smart Museum of Art, Chicago
Generations is a seven-year survey of the distinctive, multi-faceted practice of Berlin-based artist Claudia Wieser.
Drawing upon the history of art, design and architecture—from the democratic stage of ancient Roman forums to the esoteric principles of Bauhaus craftsmanship—Wieser’s practice carefully stitches together a constellation of elements. Influenced by the modernism of Hilma af Klint, Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee, who embraced spirituality as part of their aesthetic processes, Wieser broadens their ideals, using spatial installations to consider the coexistence of abstraction and physiological experience.
This will be Wieser’s first solo-traveling museum exhibition in the United States and her first project in Chicago. The exhibition is organized by Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts and the Smart Museum of Art.