Opening: Wednesday, October 29, 6 to 8 pm
Exhibition: October 30 until December 20, 2008
Rotwand Gallery is proud to present for the first time a solo exhibition of Nina Weber's work.
Nina Weber (*1980, Tanzania) lives and works in Zurich. During her student years at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK), her work was already distinguished by ornamental and dense ink drawings. For her diploma last year, she let the plants from her two-dimensional work on paper literally grow out in the room. Plants that proliferate and leave their allotted sphere are a constantly recurring motif. Out of flowers come faces; humans mutate into animals; nature turns artificial. Nina Weber thrives in a world between reality and fiction, image and dream world, city and country; she lets the one flow into the other and blurs boundary lines. The fact that, during preparations for her solo exhibition at Rotwand Gallery, she lived in a garden lodge in Zürcher Seefeld, seems hardly incidental.
On exhibition is a very large ink drawing by Weber. A giant petrol station at the center of the picture brings together a universe that takes place more in the dreamlike world of an Alice in Wonderland than in Zürcher Seefeld. And yet the multifaceted drawing is inspired by a petrol station on the site. The plastic pearl island is surrounded by water and by a frieze with curious configurations: commonplace figurines, grotesque mascots, cornflakes and chewing gum; a mix of kitsch and junk on display at the kiosk, to be bought on the run. In this context Nina Weber speaks of "plastic ghosts" and "small, cold city friends" whom visitors will continue to encounter on their tour through the exhibition, whether in the form of nose shapes or meat drops.
While up to now Nina Weber had felt at home in room-filling installations, for this exhibition she has devoted herself for the first time to an almost classic concept of sculpture. Groups of shiny white noses hang from the ceiling; visitors can stand under them and let themselves be sniffed at. The nose, for its part, eyes you from above, recalling a ghost that, airborne, flies through town and from time to time grazes the backs of our necks. Weber's inspiration was a poem by Dieter Roth with the words "(…) when they hang a thousand noses in my face (…)". Other noses in different sizes are found in the exhibition: small and recalling dark chocolates or presented all golden and pretentious like a piece of jewellery.
The artist is nonetheless attracted to an all-too-organized city, as well as irritated by its perfect choreography. Poster walls, facades, shop windows, concrete structures, fields of asphalt make up the backdrop for what Weber calls "Luftnummernspiel". The single elements that move before this backdrop are shiny consumer goods and city folk who show up looking like ghosts. To Weber these are "Luftnummern" in the sense of bubbles or a Fata Morgana that deludes us day after day.
Another sculpture group hangs from the gallery ceiling in the form of dripping, sparkling pieces of meat. Both tempting and disgusting, also this work by Weber recalls our society's battle of the materials. Radiating opulence and costliness to the outside world, these exterior surfaces are mere sheaths or hollow shells and stand for a culture that has distanced itself more and more from original needs and expectations of human beings. The shiny surface of the pieces turns out to be a metaphor that stands for pretence and delusion. Once again Nina Weber's works are marvels at the borderline between ornament (culture) and organic structure (nature).
(Text by Alexandra Blättler)
We are looking forward to seeing you!
Sabina Kohler and Bettina Meier-Bickel