For his second solo exhibition at Galerie Barbara Wien, Ian Kiaer brings together several works he has been developing and adjusting over a period of six years. These include the installation Tooth House, ceiling (2014–20) which he first conceived for his solo show at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds and has since modified through process of revision and adaption in three other institutions (Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea; Kunsthalle Lingen; Heidelberger Kunstverein).
Artist(s) Ian Kiaer
Venue Barbara Wien, Berlin, Germany
All images Courtesy of the artist and Barbara Wien, Berlin
The work takes its name from a provisional project by the Austrian architect Frederick Kiesler, which sought to introduce animal and biomorphic considerations to what he saw as an increasingly sterile modernism. Tooth House, ceiling is part model, drawing and architectural structure and continues to accrete stains, marks, tears and structural amendments with each iteration.
It operates as a form of ceiling diagram, attentive and contingent to each space it occupies.
Endnote, ping (de Bretteville/Asimov) (2019) is part of Kiaer’s ongoing project that is looking at early 70s West Coast architectural ideas, coming out of a loose movement of ‘Hippie Modernism’ that focused on utopian ideas around communal living. Peter de Bretteville collaborated on a house with the screenwriters Richard Simon and Dyanne Asimov to find a solution that acknowledged the limits of living in both relational and autonomous terms. This multipart piece projects a fragmented lecture by de Bretteville within an inflatable model, itself a biomorphic proposition for dwelling. Inflatables have been a form that Kiaer has continued to revise. The most recent ones include Endnote, limb, which he presented on October 3, 2020 in Paris for Nuit Blanche in the basin between Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and Palais de Tokyo. Another, Endnote ping, Marder (pale) (2020) is a work originally made for his solo exhibition at the Heidelberger Kunstverein: its gesture occupied a large part of the main gallery, from the floor to its 6 metres high ceiling. Now in Berlin, the work is forced to accommodate a much smaller ground floor space, squashed and cramped, it carries a very different tonal presence. Referring to Michael Marder in the title, it was informed by the contemporary philosopher’s work on plants and implies the possibility of ‘vegetal thinking’ as a prompt for radical architecture.
Kiaer often includes the term ‘endnote’ in his projects’ titles. It suggests a form of writing that lies outside the main body of a text. These marginal notes operate as asides, qualifiers to what has already been said, and allows for a fragmented conflation of ideas, ordered in a way that is not immediately apparent. When this understanding is applied to Kiaer’s work, a space for adjustment and revision opens. Works begin to converge in alternative relations between painting, inflatables, video and architectural structures. As the title of the exhibition implies, this particular show is also modulating varied registers of yellow, less for its chromatic value than for the way the works convey different qualities of material association with the colour.