balzer projects X CODE Art Fair 2018 | With works by Laura Mietrup (*1987, CH)
For balzer project’s first presentation at CODE Art Fair, Swiss artist Laura Mietrup was invited to curate a cohesive and especially designed environment, consisting of two- and three-dimensional works. The booth’s black and white walls, as well as white floor, contribute in creating a Gesamtkunstwerk, an installation where the separate works do not seem to function without each other, yet a space where the individual works can reflect upon their own physicalities – as separate visual statements. Mietrup’s works include ceramics, prints, gouaches and sculptures. The installation is aimed to create a space for reflection upon language, communication and artistic trajectories. Through that, the presentation aims to propose a new experience for visitors, that is not to see the work in a conventional art fair environment, but in a challenging juxtaposition of diverse ideas, materials, dimensions and functionalities.
“The configuration and the scale of art cannot be transposed into furniture and architecture. The intent of art is different from that of the latter, which must be functional. If a chair or a building is not functional, if it appears to be only art, it is ridiculous. The art of a chair is not its resemblance to art, but is partly its reasonableness, usefulness and scale as a chair...A work of art exists as itself; a chair exists as a chair itself.” Donald Judd, in “It’s hard to find a good lamp” 1993
What Donald Judd states so confidently here – the separation of art and furniture, art and useful objects, tools and machines – is what Laura Mietrup sets out to question. Her artistic practice is multi-facetted; she feels at home in many media, but her drawing, printing and painting practices use a predominantly sculptural vocabulary. She moves freely between furniture and sculpture and questions issues of signification, functionality and readability. Volumes, materials, borders and architectural hierarchies are permanently renegotiated in her practice and her work brakes through the boundaries of performance, installation and display, always involving the viewer in the process.
Mietrup develops a new formal language system, which is in urgent need of an interpretation from the viewer: recognizing and reading forms that seem familiar to the viewer are transformed into a new, unknown language. What this visual lexicon means, remains mysterious and ultimately unsolved. As viewers, we recognize reflections on the formal language of modernism within the context of negotiating Mietrup’s own role as an artist.
Laura Mietrup uses text – her own script and language – in an explicitly visual form. She challenges the viewer’s perception and anticipation with a complex system of alphabet-like signs, shapes and forms, resembling tools, machines, architectural structures, and bodies.
Laura Mietrup (*1987, Switzerland) grew up in a carpenter’s family. Before she went to art school, she completed an apprenticeship in gilding of picture frames. Her attention to surface, form and appearance pays tribute to this ancient and almost forgotten craft. She insists on building her own sculptures, accepting the challenge of material, size and process.
“Laura Mietrup’s work revolved over the last three years around simple fact: that simple forms can turn into simple gestures creating an imaginary language. She analyses the life of lines and how lines are embodied in forms, in materials such as ceramic or wood or metal creating an alphabet. We do not understand what these forms say, but we do. Through perception, color, volume, through the presence of these objects in the space with us they do produce bond with us. It is this bond - affection – what we can call communication. In her new sculptures a new element also appeared: balance. In beautiful unassuming manner balance becomes companion to color creating the illusion of 3D drawing through which we could walk, or better, perceived our own scale, as well as the way unanimated objects help us to understand animated life. The practice of Laura Mietrup is expressive and yet in a not conventionally emotional way, but as meditative, study - like power on how media and its colors, for example - affect the way we perceive real life.”
Chus Martinez International Curator and Head of the Institut Kunst
HGK, FHNW Academy Basel