Kronschlaeger, Kiesler, and the Endless

“All ends meet in the ‘Endless’ as they meet in life. Life’s rhythms are cyclical. All ends of living meet during twenty-four hours, during a week, a lifetime. They touch one another with the kiss of time. They shake hands, stay, say goodbye, return through the same or other doors, come and go through multi-links, secretive or obvious, or through the whims of memory.”

–Frederick Kiesler

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Alois Kronschlaeger, Untitled (Basin and Range), 2013.
Photo by Marc Lins.
kiesler2
Frederick Kiesler, Endless House, 1950-60.

Alois Kronschlaeger’s studio, and home, is also the place where we meet to speak about objects and process. The space where our conversations take place is warmly lit and longer than it is wide. A wooden table extends the length of the room and recedes into the back wall, where one of his wall sculptures (a Polychromatic Structure) hangs; I find myself straining my neck to look up at it intermittently during our conversations. The discovery that I kept looking at it as if it were going to change is an organic response to the artist’s work, in which the viewer transcends the role of the spectator to become an active participant. I become convinced that my position vis-á-vis the object does not simply impact my view of it, but actually has a transformational effect on the object itself, and I long to see the work again in search for this feeling that I have presence—and influence—on something that is outside of myself.

“What do you see here?” asks Alois, holding up a small model of what will be a large-scale, site-specific private commission. Vertical rods, at first glance parallel but in actuality slightly skewed, extend from a solid wooden base. I immediately think of Jesus Rafael Soto’s Penetrables, aptly named to evoke the way they invite the viewer to enter the sculpture, to physically inhabit it. What the artist is trying to get me to see, though, is not so much the possibility of the spectator’s insertion into the space but rather her ability to intimately interact with it from the outside. Each side of each rod is painted a different color, and when she walks around the work the faintly angled lines produce something like a moiré effect—an optical illusion whereby two or more patterns of lines are superimposed, creating a semblance of movement.

The position of the spectator changes relative to the first row of lines, which in turn also changes relative to the second row, and so on, in such a way that the visual impression of the work is dependent entirely on the viewer’s vantage point. What is unique about these objects is that they lay dormant in an empty room, but they come to life only in presence of the spectator or participant. The aesthetic and conceptual drive from which they operate is precisely this summoning of the viewer—a longing for his or her undivided attention. Something happens when you are surrounded by Kronschlaeger’s sculptures that’s similar to the effect of switching off the lights and watching otherwise still forms become animated under the veil of darkness. You become the center of gravity, toggling with the potential movement latent within each work as the shifts and displacements of your body pull the strings.

Alois cites the work of Austrian artist and architect Frederick Kiesler as an inspiration for his own constructions. Sometimes the evocations are very apparent. Kiesler’s Raumstadt (City in Space), a hovering support structure built for the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in 1925, recalls the stacked and slanted grids that rose out of the ground for Kronschlaeger’s 2013 work 30° at Untitled in Miami. And Endless House, Kiesler’s famous design for a home that was never built, is dominated by the same swooping curvilinear forms that defined his Basin and Range in Tucson, Arizona. Still, the strongest point of convergence between the artists lies in their urge to introduce a human element into their work: while producing structures that are definitively architectural in their separation from the body, they are profoundly concerned with the viewer and his or her pure physical presence. Kiesler incorporates the human form by emulating it and adapting the material to its shape; Kronschlaeger does so by devising a system where the work and the viewer are mutually stimulated by nature of being in a shared space, a communicative relationship that echoes Kiesler’s provocative assertion: “…all ends of living meet.”

 

Kronschlaeger, Kiesler, and the Endless

Valentina at the blog

There is something about writing that’s much like inhabiting a space. When I thought about what it might mean to inhabit Alois Kronschlaeger’s blog, like a newcomer who just landed in a country that is not my own, but where I can imagine the possibility of one day, in the near future, feeling at home, I struggled most with the preposition. Am I writing in Alois’s blog, for him, with him? Each option carries with it a distinct relationship to the artist and a different mode of being within the body of work, a degree of closeness and immersion. I decided that I liked the idea of at, a word that denotes a precise location and a specific time, so that as a writer I come not so much to a place—a blank page—but to a moment: the artist’s immediate present.

Alois’s preposition is on. His architectural sculptures work on the space. While scale varies, from the Wall Grid Structures that jut out just past the wall to the colossal Allotropisms, the genesis of the objects is always their ability to intervene and act upon their surroundings. This is self-evident in his site-specific works, where location (and accompanying factors, such as light) precede and determine the structure from scale model to completion, but it’s also patent in those works that were not conceived with a place in mind. The Russian constructivist Gabo distinguished what he termed the “volume of mass” from “the volume of space,” pinning one against the other: a solid cube represents the former, while a carved cube illustrates the latter—“the space in which the mass exists made visible.”  In concrete terms Gabo was defending space, reclaiming the sculptural quality of the area that is unoccupied by mass.

I can’t help but think of the swaths of aluminum mesh that sinuously interrupt the schematic structure of the grid in Alois’s works. These material interceptions rupture planes and lines, collapsing our geometric belief system and making way for randomized instances of beauty in the space: sensual shadows fall upon walls and floors, breathing new life into the surfaces; streams of light render a strip of paint suddenly transparent, revealing a concealed element. To borrow Gabo’s language, the artist carves into the space itself, and the action of carving suddenly shifts that space into our view. The forms that cut into the grids make us acutely aware of our position in space and time—one that is as transient as an optical effect.

It is curious and a little frightening to write about an artist’s work. Critics and art historians are often guilty of looking at an artwork so intently that it becomes something else entirely, like when a word loses meaning from repetition; artists are also guilty of this. I want to arrive at this project recognizing that I will be carving the space, drawing attention to the mass of what was there before, and that my words too will create haunting shadows that contract and stretch as the days elapse. But my presence as a writer also borrows from another operation at work in Alois’s sculptures: site-specificity. I recognize that I need to discover what is feasible, take measurements, make blueprints, because the subjects I will be writing about—artistic process, product, challenge, and concept—are not limitless vacuums but rather well-demarcated areas. The relationship of an artist and a writer is akin to the mutual respect and interplay between an object and space.

At is my introduction to the reader. It evokes my arrival here, now:

at present
at first glance
at full strength
at random
at intervals
at it
at once.

Valentina at the blog

Flint Public Art Project

Later this month, the Flint Public Art Project, in cooperation with the Civic Park Historic Neighborhood Association and other organizations, will unveil their newest project in the Civic Park neighborhood of Flint, MI: a series of 87 designs painted on the window and door panels of empty houses. I created each individual design in New York, and over the next week local youth in Michigan will paint them onto plywood boards, which will then be installed on 14 houses.
The design for each house is unique, and responds to the specific angles and forms of the building it was created for. The simple black and white lines were inspired by the logo for the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. Once painted, the boards will be installed for a June 25th Neighborhood Art Parade celebratory event featuring live performance, free food, and a parade through the neighborhood.
I am honored to be a part of this wonderful undertaking, and extend my gratitude to Stephen Zacks and all of the people at Flint Public Art Project for inviting me to participate. Thank you also to everyone at Haskell Youth Center for your efforts in painting my designs. It is always rewarding to be involved in public art projects, and I hope the local community will enjoy the result. Below are a few renderings of designs that I submitted to Flint Public Art Project, and that will be displayed for the Neighborhood Art Parade.
1201 Patterson_Page_1
1201 Patterson_Page_4
1201 Patterson_Page_3
1201 Patterson_Page_2
1209 Patterson_Page_1
1209 Patterson_Page_2
1214 Patterson_Page_1
1214 Patterson_Page_2
2160 Foresthill_Page_1
2160 Foresthill_Page_2
2302 Parkhurst & Delmar _Page_1
2302 Parkhurst & Delmar _Page_2
Flint Public Art Project

ZONA MACO 2015 in Mexico City

Last month, I was honored to be able to present my work at ZONA MACO in Mexico City. I have visited this wonderful city many times over the past few years, and consider it to be one of my homes in the world. Joining me in Mexico and supporting my endeavors was my gallery, with Cristin Tierney and Candace Moeller, as well as my wife Florencia Minniti and my good friends Enrique Tellez, Carol and Carlos Césarman, Aldo Chaparro, Paul Amenta from SiTE:LAB and Enrique Macotela and Raiza Larios, who generously lent me her studio to work in.

This trip, and the art I produced during my stay, represented the culmination of a lot of time and hard work. For the booth at ZONA MACO, I created an entirely new series of sculptures that showcase my continuing engagement with color relationships and interest in art as a phenomenological experience. Given the strong influence that modern Latin American art has had on my practice, it was a treat to be able to present my work in the rich artistic and historical environment of Mexico City. At the fair, I was also very pleased to be able to show my sculptures alongside the drawings and painting of the amazing Chilean artist Jorge Tacla. I hope you enjoy the photos of the booth!

Cristin Tierney Gallery at ZONA MACO 2015

Cristin Tierney Gallery at ZONA MACO

 

 

21Cristin Tierney Gallery

36 Cristin Tierney Gallery

30 Cristin Tierney Gallery

19 Cristin Tierney Gallery

ZONA MACO 2015 in Mexico City

Now Available: The Alois Kronschlaeger Monograph

This winter I’m pleased to announce the publication of my much-anticipated monograph, which encompasses everything from my early works to my site-specific installations and exhibitions with Cristin Tierney Gallery. This monograph really shows the breadth and progression of my work, spanning not only several years but also a great variety of scale in my practice, from individual cubes to monumental mountain ranges. In addition, it documents many of the people and institutions I’ve been fortunate enough to work with, such as Florencia Minniti, the Bruce Museum, SiTE:LAB, MOCA Tucson, Florian Altenburg, Paul Amenta, Mathias Kessler and many more. Essays by Joe Fig, Matthias Neumann, Muriel Pérez and Anne-Marie Russell comprise additional features of the monograph, which would not have been possible without the hard work of editor Julie Krienik and designer Brian Sisco, not to mention the generous support of Cristin Tierney. The monograph debuted with much success at UNTITLED Miami in December, and I am excited to be bringing copies with me to Mexico for ZONA MACO next month. Copies are also available through Cristin Tierney Gallery.

Grid Structure #1, 2014 basswood, paint, ink, aluminum mesh 216 x 72 x 72 in. (549 x 182 x 182 cm) site-specific installation, Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut May–August 2014 Photo Marc Lins
Grid Structure #1, 2014
basswood, paint, ink, aluminum mesh
216 x 72 x 72 in. (549 x 182 x 182 cm)
site-specific installation, Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut
May–August 2014
Photo Marc Lins
basin-range-04
Untitled (Basin and Range), 2013
wood, aluminum mesh, paint
dimensions variable
site-specific installation, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tucson, Arizona
October 2013 – March 2014
Photo Marc Lins
T B 7 (view 1), 2014 basswood, ink 24 x 24 x 24 in. (60.96 x 60.96 x 60.96 cm) Collection of the Artist Photo Paul Mutino
T B 7, 2014
basswood, ink
24 x 24 x 24 in. (60.96 x 60.96 x 60.96 cm)
Collection of the Artist
Photo Paul Mutino
Now Available: The Alois Kronschlaeger Monograph

Congratulations to Cristin Tierney and Denis Gardarin

I am extremely excited to share the news that my dealer Cristin Tierney has partnered with Denis Gardarin to create the Tierney Gardarin Gallery. I am so thrilled to be a part of this exciting new direction for the gallery. As you know, I had my first solo exhibition at the Cristin Tierney Gallery in January of 2011 and have enjoyed the support and guidance Cristin has offered over the past couple of years. I look forward to working with both Cristin and Denis and to what the future holds!

To excerpt from the announcement:

Established in 2010 by Cristin Tierney, the Cristin Tierney Gallery was founded with a commitment to artist development, collection advisory services, and arts education. Under the new partnership, Tierney Gardarin Gallery will focus on creating an environment that moves beyond the white box model, exploring critical theory and art historical themes. Through the partnership, and with the collaboration of guest curators, Tierney Gardarin Gallery aims to present museum quality exhibitions by working with mid-career artists and under-recognized contemporary art movements.

The gallery’s roster is comprised of a diverse range of emerging and mid-career artists, including but not limited to, Peter Campus, Joe Fig, Malia Jensen, Alois Kronschlaeger, Marman and Borins, Jean Shin, and Jorge Tacla. The estate of Geraldo de Barros and the artist Ryan Mosley will be added to the gallery’s roster, and Mosley will have his first solo New York exhibition at the gallery opening on June 27, 2013.

CristinDenis06

Congratulations to Cristin Tierney and Denis Gardarin

New Project in Grand Rapids, Michigan

I am quite excited to say that I am starting a new project that will be installed in Grand Rapids, Michigan in September, 2011 in conjunction with SiTE:Lab and the Art Prize.

I have just started the process of envisioning what will be my largest installation to date. Throughout the next few months I will be updating this blog to share my process.

Keep up-to-date with my progress by subscribing and posting your feedback.

Looking forward to this journey.

Alois

New Project in Grand Rapids, Michigan