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Wolfgang Laib

New York, NY: 15 January 2013 - Sperone Westwater is pleased to present Without Beginning and Without End, an exhibition by the German artist Wolfgang Laib. For the artist’s seventh solo show at the gallery, Laib continues to employ natural materials, such as beeswax and rice, organic elements selected for their purity and symbolic meaning. The Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. will host concurrent installations.

For Without Beginning and Without End (2005), the title of the exhibition, Laib meticulously melds wax slabs to form a ziggurat over 14 feet high, creating a connection between the earth and sky. A monumental architectural structure, the ziggurat reflects the artist’s interest in pre-modern and non-western dwellings and spiritual spheres from ancient Middle Eastern and South Asian cultures. Juxtaposed will be several brass ships, some mounted on the wall and some posed in mounds of rice on the floor. These ships suggest a journey to another world, echoing the meditative attributes of the ziggurat. Also included will be Untitled (Stairs), a sculpture of Burmese red lacquer and wood as well as several jars of pollen.

At MoMA, Laib’s Pollen from Hazelnut – his largest pollen piece to date measuring approximately 18 x 21 feet – will be on view in the Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium from 23 January to 11 March 2013. Laib utilizes hazelnut pollen which he has collected around his home and studio in southern Germany since the mid-1990s. The Laib Wax Room at The Phillips Collection opens on 2 March 2013. Measuring 6 x 7 x 10 feet, this cocoon-like chamber, with walls and ceiling coated in beeswax, is the first site-specific, permanent wax room created for a museum.

Born in 1950 in Metzingen, Germany, Laib originally studied medicine. Disillusioned with Western medicine, he came to view the natural sciences, as well as most other modern thinking, as limited for their dependency on logic and the material world. His search led him to Eastern spiritualism, philosophy and pre-Renaissance thought. Since 1975, Wolfgang Laib has worked exclusively as an artist and has built an international reputation. One of Laib’s retrospectives, organized by the American Federation of the Arts, traveled to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC; Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; Dallas Museum of Art; Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; and Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (2000-2003). Other recent solo museum exhibitions have been held at the Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China (2004); Fondation Beyeler, Basel, Switzerland (2005-2006); MUAC (Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo), Mexico City (2009); The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City (2009-2010); and MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany (2010). Laib’s work is in private and public collections worldwide, including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; CAPC (Musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux), France; Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland.