Alicja Kwade: Monologue from the 11th Floor
A search for the conditions which construct our reality lies at the center of Alicja Kwade’s work as a sculptor. With consistency, yet a great variety of methods and often traditional materials such as metal, stone, wood, copper, aluminum, glass and everyday objects like clocks, mirrors, lamps, or doors she creates fascinating artworks about the illusion of perception and our experiences of time, space and reality.
In her solo show at the Haus am Waldsee, Kwade not only displays her works with great spatial precision through the eleven rooms of the old villa, she also works directly with the exhibition space by installing a system of copper piping with trumpet-shaped endings. Some of these pipes break through the walls and ceilings connecting the two floors of the house. They disappear in one place to surprisingly reappear somewhere else. One cone-shaped ending sticks out of the top floor in such a way that it creates a sculptural metaphor for a wormhole; also known as an Einstein-Rosen Bridge, a distortion of space-time that in theory may allow almost instantaneous transit to anywhere in the universe. Underneath or inside some of the cone-like openings Kwade adds granite in various forms; from chunks of stone to crushed heaps, as a sign of time and transience.
The artist not only refers to parallel worlds, but her sense for the paradoxical makes duplicity a recurring motif in her oeuvre. For example a branch is leaning against the wall and within sight another, with the exact same shape is positioned in a similar way only mirror-inverted. Has nature made two identical branches? It is almost impossible to tell which one is real and which one is a cast. Even after close examination both look natural. Kwade’s work definitely tricks the viewer’s eye which becomes even more evident with a portrait of herself shown alongside a deceptively similar photograph of another person—who looks just like her. It is a Doppelgänger or is it done with mirrors? It is the minimalist, conceptual gesture paired with a playful lightness which makes Kwade’s improbable scenarios charmingly attractive.