Angelika Loderer

Secession, Vienna, Austria

Angelika Loderer’s solo show at Secession is a taut, intimate display in the venue’s upper-level Graphisches Kabinett space. The focal point of the exhibition is a group of eight tall assemblages made with black metal rods – reminiscent of steel rebar, but less regular – placed vertically in triangular and rectangular arrangements (all works Untitled, 2017). Within each of these spindly structures, Loderer has packed mountainous formations of quartz sand in hues of deep ochre, black and beachy beige. Subtle metal undersheets – some flat, some curved, some angled – hold these earthy forms in place, but with their outer surfaces neatly smoothed, they seem to hover. On the floor, dustings of fallen sand create loosely geometric shapes that
shift and evolve over time – ‘drawings’ left to the whims of the material, the environment and visitors’ footsteps.

This on-site material experimentation with the transience and natural bent of materials continues in several accompanying wall works, which, like those shown last year at Salzburger Kunstverein and Gillmeier Rech in Berlin, involve mycelium: the vegetative part of fungus that grows in branch-like filaments. For this series, Loderer places living, expanding colonies of this mycelium between plates of transparent Perspex. One of the larger examples incorporates a blown-up image of an equestrian monument culled from the internet, which is slowly being overtaken by the fungus. Another sees mycelium colonize a web of netting, with soft, organic splotches of white, brown and near-black creating a living work of abstraction. These pieces seem to emit their own moisture and nearly breathe, expanding save for the taut tension with the physical boundaries set in place by the artist.

Loderer’s arresting works tap into that age-old allegorical conflict between nature’s fecundity and the stubborn permanence of manmade objects. But they also set up their own oppositions: between fragility and strength (drifting sand versus tempered metal); between decay and expansion (as her fungus grows, it breaks down other organic structures). I hesitate to evoke the discussions of eco-art and the Anthropecene that so enamored the art world until recently, when issues of climate change and sustainability became overshadowed by a populist agenda that denies their existence, but I am reminded here of their continued relevance. This is, perhaps, how Loderer’s work functions: by subtly revealing what is normally invisible or deemed unimportant. The spores that her works draw to the surface, for instance, are all around us, but rarely do we notice them; the particular sands that she incorporates are ordinarily used in sculptural casting, but are generally discarded after production.

Growing up in close proximity to her family’s foundry, where she continues to work to this day, Loderer was able to experience both the idiosyncrasies of physical matter and the potential of negative and positive form at close quarters. The results of this familiarity make themselves clear at Secession, where the artist is able to address materiality, balance and gesture in a natural, unforced and playful manner, while testing the limits of sculptural form in ways that seem both daring and sure-footed. As she strings viewers along with her mesmerizing structural experiments, she prompts a consideration of not only the absence and presence of space and the stability and transience of objects, but also of living processes, disintegration, and the fluxes that occur in between.

Main image: Angelika Loderer, 2017, installation view. Courtesy: the artist and Secession, Vienna

Issue 187

First published in Issue 187

May 2017

Most Read

With the opening of the 15th Istanbul Biennial this week, a guide to the best exhibitions around town
Ahead of the openings of EXPO Chicago and the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, a guide to the best exhibitions...
Florine Stettheimer, Beauty Contest: To the Memory of P.T. Barnum, 1924, oil on canvas, 1.2 x 1.5 m. Courtesy: Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut and Ettie Stettheimer
The Jewish Museum, New York, USA
Highlights of the exhibitions and performances taking place during Berlin Art Week 
Reflections, a favourite verse, and a new poem dedicated to one of the English language’s most renowned poets of the...
Nicole Eiseman, Sketch for a Fountain (Skizze für einen Brunnen), 2017, Skulptur Projekte 2017, bronze, gips, wasserbecken. Courtesy: Skulptur Projekte Münster
Various venues, Münster, Germany
Buoyed by Manifesta announcing it will dock in the port city in 2020, is Marseille becoming the new LA? 
Ahead of this year’s DC Open and gallery share Okey-Dokey, a round-up of the best shows across the Rhineland cities
From artist Enoch Cheng’s nocturnal balletics to fascist violence in Charlottesville, rethinking the political agency...
Opened 15 months ago but remaining empty until now, the inaugural show at the landmark Palestinian Museum in Birzeit
The dual sides to the city’s Cph Art Week
Queer cringe at the BBC and other diversity dilemmas
Marta Minujín, El Partenón de libros (The Parthenon of Books), 2017, under construction in Kassel as part of documenta 14. Photograph: © Rosa Maria Ruehling
On documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel
Chris Kraus’s biography of the first female ‘Great Writer as Countercultural Hero’
Remembering the artist whose occultist experiments transformed her body and biography into art 
In this microcosm of the disenfranchisement of ‘Late Great Britain’, what use is art?
Public debate around Confederate insignia has little to do with historical fact, and everything to do with collective...
A multi-faceted collaboration between Matthew Barney, Ragnar Kjartansson and the Iceland Dance Company reflects on...
What Luc Besson’s Valerian and a number of recent artists’ 3D films are getting right about our current reality
The removal of the Confederate monuments in Baltimore shows decisiveness after years of inaction – already they stand...
Yayoi Kusama to open her own museum; Confederate monuments removed in Baltimore; David Roberts Art Foundation to leave...
From a tribute to Straub/Huillet to Valerie Massadian’s portrait of teenage motherhood, the turn to real situations and...
Japan’s growing number of art festivals tread a precarious path between state-sponsored leisure-culture and soft-power...
Fifty years after the term was coined, a show in Samos reflects on ‘the unlikely liaison between love and politics’
Arsenale and Giardini, Venice, Italy
SoundCloud has been invaluable to the new music community for both documentation and discovery – now the audio-...
The extraordinary life of the late, great, gallerist and collector Alexander Iolas
Various venues, New York, USA
At a time of instantaneous information and fetishized immersivity, artists are evoking scent as an alchemical, bodily...
With her current show at Gasworks, London, the Kuwaiti artist shares some influential images
Romare Bearden, Pittsburgh Memory, 1964, mixed media collage and graphite on board, 22 x 30 cm. Courtesy: © Romare Bearden Foundation / DACS, London / VAGA, New York 2017
Successfully layering a broader socio-historical narrative onto a period of radical non-conformity, this is an...
With a strong surrealist strain, and including a welcome number of female artists, highlights from the 48th edition of...

Latest Magazines

frieze magazine

May 2017

frieze magazine

June – August 2017

frieze magazine

September 2017