September 25, 2016

Alicja Kwade @ Whitechapel Gallery, London

Alicja Kwade: Whitechapel Commission
Whitechapel Gallery, London

28 September 2016 – 25 June 2017

For Alicja Kwade’s (b. 1979) first project for a major UK gallery, unveiled on Wednesday 28 September, the Berlin-based artist creates a captivating installation of astronomical data and our position in the universe.

Bronze casts of giant vertebrae stand at either side of the gallery accompanying a projection depicting a slowly rotating, biomorphic form. The film is inspired by NASA data of extrasolar meteors, referencing the cataclysmic event believed to have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. At the centre of the work and gallery, a large mobile of 24 electronic star maps is suspended from the gallery ceiling, slowly rotating in concentric circles, visualising astronomical data that demonstrates the earth’s position in the known galaxy.

Daniel F. Hermann, Eisler Curator and Head of Curatorial Studies said: “Since 2005, artist commissions have been a core part of the Whitechapel Gallery’s programme that provides a vital forum for the development of artists’ practice. Alicja Kwade’s work represents some of the most interesting developments in sculpture today – with meticulous attention to detail and a sincere appreciation for craftsmanship and quality of materials, her work emphasises the skill that is necessary to give artistic form to philosophical inquiry. We’re delighted to premier her work to the UK audience this autumn.”

Alicja Kwade said: “Material objects are events in time. I am interested in understanding how time operates and how we, in our own lifespan, are also part of these occurring events.”

Alicja Kwade’s sculptures often defy the conventional understanding of time and space: concrete columns melt in the sun, bicycles bend around themselves and everyday objects seem to take on a life of their own. From manipulating the mechanical workings of a clock, to creating liquid pools of mirrored glass, Kwade transforms common materials into extraordinary artworks that challenge our perceptions. Her diverse sculptures are inspired by the intangible ways we try to make sense of the modern world, from theories of astrophysics to stock market analysis.

Alicja Kwade’s new Commission is on display until 23 November in Gallery 2, a dedicated space for site-specific works of art until 25 June 2017.