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.”

 

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Kronschlaeger, Kiesler, and the Endless

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

Opening night of Untitled (Basin and Range) at MOCA Tucson

After seven weeks of installation, Untitled (Basin and Range) at MOCA Tucson was complete. I was so thrilled to have so many familiar faces to help me celebrate at the opening including my brother, Hans, my dear friend, Dr. Holtkamp, my dealer, Cristin Tierney and her associate, Maria Kucinski, plus photographer, Marc Lins, my right-hand-man, Florian Altenburg, and, of course, my wife, Florencia Minniti. It was a fantastic evening. Thanks to Anne-Marie Russell, Henry Kerr, and all the MOCA staff and especially the members for making it a special night. Cheers to you!

Alois Kronschlaeger MOCA Tucson
Photograph by Taylor Miller.
Dr. Holtkamp, Maria Kucinski, Henry Kerr, Florencia Minniti, Alois Kronschlaeger
Photograph by Taylor Miller.

Alois Kronschlaeger, Cristin Tierney, Florencia Minniti, Anne-Marie Russell, Florian Altenburg

Opening night MOCA Tucson

Johans Steinrich

Dr. Holtkamp

Florencia Minniti
Photograph by Taylor Miller.
Opening night of Untitled (Basin and Range) at MOCA Tucson

Finishing up Range #5

After finishing up Ranges #1 through #4 which reside inside the Great Hall, we moved to the Great Plaza to install Range #5. Florian, Henry and I worked into the night, affixing the aluminum mesh to the wooden grid and then pouring the clear paint. As you can see, the installation extends to the city sidewalk. Just a couple finishing touches and the installation will be complete.

Alois Kronschlaeger Untitled Basin and Range

Alois Kronschlaeger Untitled Basin and Range

Alois Kronschlaeger Untitled Basin and Range

Finishing up Range #5

Anne-Marie Russell

I would like to thank Anne-Marie Russell, Executive Director and Chief Curator of MOCA Tucson, for the opportunity to envision and create Untitled (Basin and Range). She is truly amazing and has put together a fantastic team to help realize my most ambitious project to-date. I am so lucky to have had her support and guidance throughout this project. It has been such a pleasure working with her, with all of her knowledge and experience and I am so thrilled to be presenting my piece.
Anne-Marie Russell with Mike Hein
Anne-Marie Russell at MOCA Tucson
Anne-Marie Russell, Florian Altenburg, Catherine Eyde, Jocko Weyland, Mike Hein, Johans Steinrich, Florencia Minniti, Alois Kronschlaeger, and Henry Kerr.
Anne-Marie Russell

Getting ready to pour the paint

Now that all five ranges of Untitled (Basin and Range) have been completed at MOCA Tucson, we are now ready to pour the transparent paint over the mesh. We have new tools for pouring and recycling the paint and we have the cherry picker – masterfully maneuvered by Henry. So far, we’ve poured paint on Ranges #2 and #3 and are working on Range #1. From prep time to final execution, it takes about 5-6 hours to pour paint on each range.

Florian Altenburg

Alois Kronschlaeger Untitled Basin and Range

Cherry Picker Untitled Basin and Range

Alois Kronschlaeger Untitled Basin and Range

Getting ready to pour the paint