Blütenstaub von Haselnuss (Hazel Pollen)

Wolfgang Laib


Installation, 220 x 240 cm.
Materials: pollen

Collection: M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. BK5585_M62).

In the 1970s Wolfgang Laib finished his studies in medicine, but he was not satisfied by the world of science and soon left it to become an artist, a ‘vocation’ that he sees as an existential choice, much like his countryman Joseph Beuys. This work consists of pollen from a hazel tree, scattered onto the floor in a rectangular shape. Laib collects this pollen in the fields and woods that he can see from his studio. His life and work are closely related to the landscape he inhabits. Physical activity is an important part of his work: the pollen must be collected, grain by grain, from the flowers. Then they must be washed and filtered and stored with immense care so that their purity, vitality and integrity can be preserved. The pollen is filtered and applied through a tea strainer, which expressly eliminates every trace of a personal ‘autograph’ from the work. The form also avoids all touches of the personal: it is a simple rectangular field without clear contours. The yellow surface creates a sensation of infinity, but also of desire, harmony and rest. Laib’s work symbolises no spiritual essence or reality. In its forms and constituent parts it is rather to do with the concrete presence of the real.

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