“To See the World in a Grain of Sand”: Wolfgang Laib and the Aesthetics of Interpenetrability

in Religion and the Arts
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Abstract

For the artist Wolfgang Laib, pollen is an extraordinary substance that signifies renewal, boundless energy, the temporal, the eternal, and the memory of the seasons. Laib’s pollen works are the result of an intense process of gathering, a pursuit of art as a way of life even that gives rise to works of art that are remarkable in their visual luminosity and textual delicacy. This essay considers Indra’s net as a metaphor for interpenetrability to conceptualize the folding of the subject and object that Laib’s pollen works allude to, and offers a deliberation on the spiritual within art.

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References

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Figures

  • Wolfgang Laib. Milkstone, 1999. Laib pouring milk on milkstone. Installation view at Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz, Austria. Photography: Markus Tretter, Kunsthaus Bregenz. © Wolfgang Laib. Courtesy: Sean Kelly Gallery, New York.
    View in gallery
  • Wolfgang Laib. Pollen from Hazelnut, 1992. Laib sifting hazelnut pollen. Installation view at Centre Pompidou, Paris. © Wolfgang Laib. Courtesy: Sean Kelly Gallery.
    View in gallery
  • Wolfgang Laib. Frieze of Life, 2009. Installation view at Sean Kelly Gallery, New York. Photography: Jason Wyche, New York. © Wolfgang Laib. Courtesy: Sean Kelly Gallery, New York.
    View in gallery
  • Wolfgang Laib, detail of Frieze of Life, 2009. Installation view at Sean Kelly Gallery, New York. Photography: Jason Wyche, New York. © Wolfgang Laib. Courtesy: Sean Kelly Gallery, New York.
    View in gallery

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