Press Release

In the late 1970s, the artist Wolfgang Laib had already begun investigating our existence and actions as part of fragile environments—something that could not be more relevant today. His subtle works are created in a direct engagement with nature and in accordance with the seasons. Whether he is collecting pollen for his minimalist, bright yellow floor works, or involved in the time-consuming process of creating his sculptures made of beeswax, a respect for and an involvement in nature are driving forces for the artist. Nature is the starting point for his works, and it is the source of his ideas.



International exhibitions

International ongoing exhibitions

Wolfgang Laib, The Beginning of Something Else

Kunstmuseum Stuttgart (Germany)

17.06 - 05.11.2023




Born in Metzingen in 1950, Laib’s life has revolved around his home near Biberach in Baden-Württemberg for more than thirty years now. As an artist, he works globally and has a studio in New York and a second residence in southern India. Laib began traveling extensively already when he was young. He became acquainted with Far Eastern cultures and philosophies, which left an impression that is clearly palpable in his works. With their reduced language of forms and concentration on only a few materials like beeswax, pollen, rice, and marble, they invite us to perceive them slowly, while appealing to our body and mind to equal degrees. Laib’s works have the air of evolving in a resonance chamber of the holistic understanding of life and the world—one in which humans are part of a greater whole.

In this exhibition, which was developed together with Wolfgang Laib, the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart is presenting artworks from the most important groups of works from all phases of his career—such as wax rooms, pollen fields, rice houses, wax houses, milkstones, drawings, and photographs. Also featured is Laib’s latest series, the Towers of Silence. The museum’s specific architecture was taken into account when selecting and deciding the placement of the works. Relying on context, his works unfold their full potential in the interaction and interplay with the sites and spaces where they are shown. Distributed over the three levels of the Kubus, the visually diverse works also form a unity or harmonic Gesamtkunstwerk that can be explored in the context of this specific exhibition.

A documentary film about Wolfgang Laib made especially for this occasion will be shown at the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart beginning on July 20, 2023. The filmmaker Maria Anna Tappeiner, who is particularly well-known for her artist portraits and culture documentaries, accompanied the artist at work with her film team for twelve months. It shows how the changing seasons are just as decisive for Laib as where he lives and works in Upper Swabia and southern India. The film project was initiated by the museum and not only sheds light on how Laib develops and creates his works; it also captures the things in life that are relevant for his artistic practice.

Accompanying the exhibition is a richly illustrated “reading book” published by Hirmer Verlag that offers a unique approach to Laib’s work. It is a collection of all the writings and photographs that have been especially important in the artist’s life and thoughts—and that are also reflected in his artistic work. Included are passages from the Epic of Gilgamesh, a poem by the Buddhist monk Bodhidharma, and quotes from the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche or the American artist Agnes Martin. These are accompanied by photographs Laib took on his many journeys, discovered in books, or collected as postcards.

Curators Ulrike Groos, Anne Vieth. Assistant curator Alina Grehl

Exhibition 17 June - 05 November 2023. Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Kleiner Schlossplatz 1 - 70173 Stuttgart (Germany). T +49 711 21619600. Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–5pm, Friday 10am–8pm.






Wolfgang Laib, Hazelnut Pollen (detail), 2013. Installation view, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2013. Photo: Carolyn Laib. © Wolfgang Laib.

Wolfgang Laib, Hazelnut Pollen (detail), 2013. Installation view, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2013. Photo: Carolyn Laib. © Wolfgang Laib. Wolfgang Laib, The Beginning of Something Else, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Germany

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