Alois Kronschlaeger: Polychromatic Contemplations at the Figge Art Museum

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Polychromatic Contemplations, 2018. All photography: Nathan Umstead.

Alois Kronschlaeger is pleased to announce the opening of his most recent exhibition, Polychromatic Contemplations, at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa, on view June 9–September 16, 2018.

The installation brings together various scales of reference in a telescoping action. As viewers enter the Museum’s third-floor gallery, they assume the bird’s-eye perspective of a land surveyor. Colorful lattices and yarn-work structures sit atop brick foundations, dotting the gallery environment and echoing the grain silos that section the Midwest’s landscape into distinct towns of regular distribution. As visitors move among the towers, a kaleidoscopic array of colors and patterns unfolds, and the landscape begins to shift as each spectator observes a multiplicity of spatial configurations. The openwork structure of the sculptures—yarn pulled through mesh, lattices of polychromatic rods, tectonics of solid and void—allows distinct towers to optically blend into each other, mixing colors and rendering the regularity of their placement in space ambiguous. Here the grid becomes a source of mutation and instability, belying its function as an organizational and administrative device.

Staged in three rows of seven, equally spaced sculptures, the exhibition references not only the history of land surveying in eighteenth and nineteenth-century America, but also zooms into the site of Davenport, as well as the specific architectural features of the Figge Museum itself. These three scalar levels—region, city, and institution—are able to be stitched together due to their shared place within the expansive Jeffersonian grid system, an abstract, conceptual device that shaped the landscape of the Midwest in concrete and observable ways.

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Kronschlaeger’s installation mines the gap between the grid as an ideal form and its physical realization, seen here in the arrangement of structures in space, as well as in the materialization of the grid in diverse media—colored rods, wire mesh and yarn, and brickwork patterns. An invisible infrastructure that has for centuries mapped and regularized space is pulled into the realm of lived experience, a reversal that allows the grid to become instead a vehicle for multiple, shifting perspectives and possibilities.

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Alois Kronschlaeger: Polychromatic Contemplations at the Figge Art Museum

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