A German Artist’s Gorgeous Cut-Outs Turn Paper Into Liquid and Metal

In the past, the German artist has created large-scale, unframed installations in which the meticulous layering of graphite-tinted paper appears as sticky and volatile as wet tar. At the time, the artist invited gallery visitors to move around his pieces so as to better alter their perspectives and, in his words, be “forced to look at real space in a different way.” For Kocks’s latest solo exhibition, “The First Round” at Winston Wächter Fine Art, the scale of his papercrafts has shrunk somewhat, but the directive to understand them from multiple angles remains. The new work, which transposes some of Kocks’s large-scale sculptural work by floating cut-outs onto wood, proves the artist doesn’t need the entire wall of a gallery to create his technically impressive, explosive works. 

Kocks is trained in both architecture and sculpture; though his works are at times painterly, with their swooping curves and dripping cascades, his constructions bear the mark of an artist used to considering, as the architect does, light and space. For these works, Kocks has begun using gold, aluminum leaf, and silver materials, allowing him to construct graceful, glinting objects that float delicately above the wooden canvases on which they’re placed—objects that feel solid when approached head-on, yet when viewed at an angle reveal themselves to be intricate slivers of layered paper. With works such as Joy in Spite of Everything (2014), and Self Portrait (2014), the aluminum leaf becomes mystical and opaque; in What a World II (2014) it is as slippery as petroleum. Such is the work of this artist who transforms space into an experience, rather than a static reality.  

Molly Osberg

The First Round” is on view at Winston Wächter Fine Art, Seattle, Jan. 7–Feb. 25, 2015.

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