125 x 227 x 55 cm
Brass on cardboard, framed
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Purchase made possible by Club Fonds Konkret
Reality always seems so clear to us, as long as we don’t think about what it is made of, and how we can be sure it is real. In her sculptures and installations, Alicja Kwade (born 1979 in Katowice, PL) consistently questions the nature of reality. On the basis of scientific insights and philosophical ideas about the nature of space and time, she creates formally reduced and hauntingly beautiful works that undermine our understanding of reality and our traditional set of values. Kwade’s approach quickly garnered much attention already in 2005, shortly after she graduated from the Universität der Künste in Berlin. She is now one of the most sought-after European artists of her generation, as evidenced by her participation in the Venice Biennale in 2017.
Kwade especially became known for the works in her “Parallelwelt” (Parallel World) series, which includes two identical Nissan Micra cars standing next to each other. These act like mirror images with identical but reversed steering wheels, license plates, and even dents. Another sculptural arrangement from the same series consists of a pair of Kaiser idell table lamps with facing shades that are pushed together so tightly that they hold a two-way reflecting mirror wedged between them. When walking around the lamps and looking in the mirror, one lamp seems to gradually take on the color of its counterpart. These works, with their everyday objects and mirror effects, are typical for Kwade and signify more than just a confusing game of optical illusions. Instead, the artist plays with contemporary theories of physics, which argue that there are parallel realities and ten to eleven dimensions. Her work “Idol (30°)” from 2017, which belongs to the collection of the Museum Haus Konstruktiv, also relies on the discovery in 2015 by physicists of the existence of the gravitational waves Albert Einstein had predicted. These waves are caused by accelerated masses in so-called spacetime and are key elements of Big Bang research. In her transformation of brass watch hands into a pictorial expression of the “chaotic order” of these gravitational waves, Kwade yet again masterfully translates abstract ideas into sculptural metaphors that equally reflect our knowledge of, and insecurity about, what we call reality.