Esther Schipper presents Wiebke Siem’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. Under the title Damenskulptur, the artist presents seven new textile works and a series of new drawings
The new sculptures, made of soft knitted fabric and more than two meters long, hang in the exhibition space. Each consists of basic geometric shapes in different variations. The forms of the pompons or fringes refer to the history of modern sculpture (especially the Bauhaus and Minimalism), while the figurative elements such as head, hands or feet counteract this serial arrangement at the same time.
The new series also explicitly refers to Siem’s early works and combines motifs from the artist’s sculptural iconography with formal elements from fashion. For example, Siem takes up the surrealistic designs of Elsa Schiaparelli. At the same time, the new series also revisits the topic of the usability of works of art.
The drawings indicate this potential for the usability of these Soft Sculptures. They show the sculptures in their full length, as well as a scarf draped around the outline of a neck. The juxtaposition emphasizes the humorous side of the objects.
The works will be shown in a museum-like presentation. While some earlier exhibitions resembled the display of museum of the history of science or an ethnographic museum, here the display of a museum of fashion is evoked – although all associations are not mutually exclusive, especially in the work of Siem. At the same time, the placement of the sculptures in the darkened room recalls a stage, especially the black stage of Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet.
Starting from the history of fashion, art and design, Siem creates sculptures that address the legacy of modernism from a feminist perspective.
Wiebke Siem was born 1954 in Kiel, Germany. The artist lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Siem studied Sculpture and Printmaking from 1973 to 1978 at Muthesius Kunsthochschule in Kiel, as well as Sculpture from 1979 to 1984 at Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg. She was a visiting professor for Sculpture at Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg, followed by a professorship for Sculpture from 2002 to 2008.
Recent solo exhibitions include: Wiebke Siem, Zeichnungen, Neues Museum Nürnberg, Nuremberg (2017– ongoing); Wiebke Siem – What Things Dream, K20 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Labor, Düsseldorf (2016); Wiebke Siem, Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg (2015); Wiebke Siem – Kaiserringträgerin der Stadt Goslar, Mönchehaus-Museum, Goslar (2014); Wiebke Siem im Atelier Karin Sander, Studio Karin Sander, Berlin (2014); Geister, Installation im Treppenhaus der Kunsthalle zu Kiel (2012); Die Fälscherin, Neues Museum Nürnberg, Nuremberg (2009); Maskenkostüme, on the occasion of the Edwin Schar Award of the city of Hamburg, Hamburger Kunsthalle – Galerie der Gegenwart (2004), and Collection, The Henry Moore Institute, Leeds (2001).
Among selected group exhibitions are: Edwin Schar Preisträger Hamburg, Edwin Schar Museum, Neu Ulm (2017), HONEY, I REARRANGED THE COLLECTION, Hamburger Kunsthalle – Galerie der Gegenwart, Hamburg (2016); Summer Guests, Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon (2016); Gesichter zwischen Figur, Porträt und Maske, Neues Museum Nürnberg, Nuremberg (2015); Regionalismus, Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg (2013), and Gute Gesellschaft, Kunsthalle zu Kiel, Kiel (2012).all images © the gallery and the artist(s)