May 9th - June 26th
Opening reception for the artist:
Friday, May 9th, 6pm
At first sight it is usually the anecdotic or narrative element of a found object that triggers Verena Waldmüllers attention. Gatherers or collectors always need a “Punktum”, as Roland Barthes calls it in “The Bright Chamber”, describing a fascinating, unexplainable form of being spoken to. Interestingly, this detail does not fit into the particular coherences, in fact it is rather one that disturbs. However, this is exactly the engine to trigger and instruct a productive web of perception, thinking and initiative. This way her “prototypes” attract other elements, finding additions and further irritations, until a plausible shape is formed.
Verena Waldmüller sees herself primarily as a sculptor. She began with a classical wood carving apprenticeship, and learned how to sculpt a figure out of a piece of wood. After that, the following art studies honed her career, and she now works with found materials and correspondingly with different tools. But this is not only a different technic leading again to a [just different looking] figure. The collage/montage is a different way of thinking and operating, as well, as it does not lead to its metaphorical language as a unit of shape and meaning, but much more, it preserves the differential and origin of the components in their own otherness and contradiction.
In this sense, Verena Waldmüller works on a second level as well, that of shape. The decisions here are justified as well – an independence from content – the key element of her sculptures. She is asking: how does the object behave in it ?s specific shape to another, how does it develop in space? Moreover: how can I accomplish to separate form and contextual meaning through sculptural activity in a manner which leads to a discussion both dependently and independently? Here a completely different line of tradition is revealed, similar to the Russian Constructivists like Wladimir Tatlin or Iwan Puni who, for example, provocatively installed a hammer on a relief of multicolored surfaces [1915 –21].
Seen this way Verena Waldmüller conducts an exciting balance between contextual object and formal contingency, between objective and abstract art.
In this content related conglomeration of objective meaning, an aesthetic experience joins in, emerging from the traits of impact of hanging, standing, outstanding, surrounding, showed in a filled and outlined shape of soft, transparent and hard, of color and material, etc.. A formal and aesthetic “something like” is developed, describing as well an aesthetic as a contextual metaphor.
Since in the correlation of these two levels as well as within the levels, there is no hierarchy, ambivalences occur that turn into content and meaning of the work itself. Therefore, understanding means to stay in the in-between or even better: to stay in a constant shifting, parallelism and consistency.
When using the machines and installations on oneself, applying them on your own body, involving yourself, you feel that not only your technical imagination is inspired but emotions are created as well. As sensible as they are built, as stiff and particularly comical in the fractions of their connections, they evoke emphasis as if the technical nonsense has a mysterious human background. You could find poetic titles full of imagination for it, as Paul Klee always wrote under his drawings. But Verena Waldmüller decided to title them with anonymous type descriptions, as Wassily Kandinsky did, by only numbering his “Compositions” in reference to music. This way the work stays free.
There is a technic of culture, containing all these traits in a special measure, humour. This trait Verena Waldmüller owns in a very poetic way, as well as towards her environment that provides her the material, as in her own personality – just as towards her art and its methods in the end.
And last but not least – and this could be the evidence for the successful creation of metaphors – her technical sculptures feature something that characterized ancient sculptures of human gods: Beauty.
Text: Bernhard Balkenhol
Übersetzung: Maike Koller