Martin Walde, Solvent Scale, 2011
Solvent Scale is, after his remarkable contribution to Skulptur im Schlosspark Ambras Unter freiem Himmel, the artist's first solo exhibition at the Galerie Elisabeth & Klaus Thoman.
Martin Walde is an artist who conceives his works, in a comprehensive sense, from the point of view of the media used. In these works he deals, in manifold ways, with processes being set in motion. What interests Walde most, consequently, are phenomena touching on the inexplicable and incalculable. He likes to work with a variety of materials and keeps changing perspectives. "Forever hard to pin down, he changes roles, from chemical lab assistant to alchemist, from technical inventor to demiurge. With a marked joy of discovery, in terms of physical-chemical correlations, he experiments with liquids, colours, smells, and textures. What interests Martin Walde here is continuous transformation, the fluidity and changeability of materials, their viscosity as well as their affective, symbolic and aesthetic potentials." With his dynamic installation processes, the artist succeeds in extending the concept of sculpture, integrating nature, science, and technology into his works. "As Walde combines a spirit of scientific research with artistic form, and as poetry, pleasure and passion are the motor for all progress, Martin Walde is less a finder and inventor of new contexts of meaning than a dreamy 'world maker' who is able to infect the purposive rationalism of a grey everydayness with the scintillating sparks of an untamed mind." * (*Roland, Nachtigäller, Das Museum als künstlerisches Labor und soziales Handlungsfeld, In: Katalog , Martin Walde - A Second Home for Schrödinger's Cat., MARTa Herfod, ZKM Karlsruhe, Neue Galerie Graz, 2010)
In the exhibition entitled Solvent Scale, conceived for the Galerie Elisabeth & Klaus Thoman in Innsbruck, Martin Walde presents a group of glass works. All of the glass vessels had been used in industrial recovery systems for solvents. These vessels, with their standardised forms and scales, were then deformed by the artist, in collaboration with the glass technician Bernd Weinmayer, in a furnace specially constructed for the purpose. A crucial aspect of the project was that the "deformation" of the glass elements should not be an end in itself or follow formal aesthetic criteria, but merely be a side effect and a consequence of the liquefaction of the "scales". In the process, the artist does not aim for a de-functionalising of the vessels, and thus the industrial facilities, but for a change in their functionality. The second prominent work in the exhibition is a series of pictures in ten parts called Dandelion that has recently been shown at the Moscow Biennale. Step by step, and through continuous reproduction of analogue and digital overwritings, Walde here transforms the original photograph of a meadow covered in dandelions into an unreal, fantastic world. Wavering between inconsequential manipulations and deliberate conception, a process of abstraction is thus set in motion, in the course of which the meadow's image is lost, while the step-by-step manipulations remain visible.