How does hot bronze smell before it becomes art? How does a sculpture made out of mist feel on my skin? How do sound installations sound when the volume is switched off? Are there such things as artworks that are sweet? When does a sculpture touch me, and when am I allowed to touch a sculpture? Questions like these and many more will be explored this year as we dedicate ourselves to the topic of Sensing Sculpture.
After having tackled major social issues in the last two years – Sculpting Society in 2022 and Sculpture and Climate Emergency in 2023 – we would like to head back to our roots in 2024. Back to the the artwork. How does it taste, how does it smell, how will we see it, and how will it feel.
Through our articles in our magazines and our events, we seek to make sculpture a perceptible experience for all of our senses and to discover the underlying stories of these sensually tangible works. From Barcelona to Berlin, all across Europe, we want to sense sculpture. As a taster for this coming year, enjoy a small digital exhibition of artworks for your senses.
Touch: Judith Mann and Tamara Jacquin
Mist. It is these very finest droplets of water, so familiar to us from everyday life, that are Judith Mann's working material. Alongside electromagnetism, lightning, and other natural phenomena, she draws the viewers of her work closer to this most delicate form of rain and makes the mist a tangible experience. In places and at times when no grey cloud would naturally touch the ground.
In contrast to Judith Mann's delicate moisture, Tamara Jacquin's work feels rather rough and edgy. For her project Body Architecture IV, she constructed a dress out of wood and then wore it herself during a performance. For the artist, the rather heavy, discomforting piece of clothing symbolises the burden that women have to carry within the framework of social expectations and also the irony that the things that are so heavy to carry are, to some extent, continually recreated by the women themselves. The dress literally makes her feel this weight herself.
Hearing: Benoît Maubrey
Benoît Maubrey's chosen material consists of found and recycled electronic devices. In his installations, such as SHIPWRECK and SPEAKERS ARENA, visitors are invited to shape the sound themselves. Via Bluetooth, they can play songs or messages or connect directly to the loudspeakers using a microphone. The installation is transformed into a concert hall.
Alongside large-scale works in the public space, Benoît Maubrey also creates sounding clothes that are equipped with amplifiers and loudspeakers.
He says of his own work: “Artistically, I use loudspeakers much in the same way that a sculptor uses clay or wood: as a modern medium to create monumental artworks with the added attraction that they can make the air vibrate (‛sound’) around them and create a public ‛hotspot’.”
Sight: Verena Friedrich
Verena Friedrich painstakingly burns holes in a non-woven fabric using the flame of a candle. The resulting work, contemplation, invites you to dwell and reflect on yourself. It is only through the holes that the light is able to permeate the work, and thus it becomes visible.
Taste: Félix González-Torres
In addition to three-dimensional art that you can hear, see, and touch, there are also works that appeal to the sense of taste. In the 1990s, Félix González-Torres dedicated an entire series of works to one particular type of food: candy. In his only seemingly sweet Candy Works, he addresses challenging social issues such as the spreading of Aids in the case of Untitled (Lover Boys), 1991. By defining the ideal weight of his work consisting of single candies at 161 kg, the exact weight of the artist himself together with his partner Ross Laycock, who died of Aids, the artist creates a strong contrast to what at first glance appears to be a colourful and harmless work, which visitors are even allowed to taste and take home with them.
As such, he constantly challenges curators with the task of reinterpreting his work. If at all and how often are the candies replenished during an exhibition, on what area are they presented, and how long is the ideal weight maintained, it is entirely up to the makers of the exhibition, as was impressively seen and tasted last year at the Munich Museum Brandhorst as part of the exhibition Future Bodies from a Recent Past.
The Ernesto Ventós Foundation collects art dedicated to the world of smell. The Spanish artist Ernesto Ventós Omedes (known as NASEVO) was deaf from childhood. His family produced fragrances. It is therefore not surprising that NASEVO soon found himself specialising in understanding the world through his nose. Whilst his artworks themselves do not have a scent, the olfactory note that he associates with each work is recorded in the titles. Inside the museum itself, visitors are provided with fragrances made especially for each work while they view it.
Looking forward to a year full of further, sensually perceivable, three-dimensional art along with exciting new experiences under our theme of Sensing Sculpture!