MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art presents Pollen from Hazelnut by the artist Wolfgang Laib. The work is the artist’s largest pollen-based installation to date, measuring approximately 18 by 21 feet.
To present his works, Wolfgang Laib (German, b. 1950) sieves pollen directly onto the floor, creating a ground of radiant color that is at once material and immaterial. Once the exhibition ends, the artist retrieves the pollen, cleans it, and stores it in sealed glass jars. The work at MoMA is the equivalent of approximately 18 such jars. Laib has been collecting the hazelnut pollen used in the installation from the natural environment around his home and studio since the mid-1990s. Pollen, a primordial substance as potent as it is fragile, is recontextualized here as a vibrant celebration of life.
Wolfgang Laib created his first pollen field in 1977, and has since collected pollen on a yearly basis, spring through summer, in the forests and meadows near his home in a small village in southern Germany. In a solitary, ceremonial endeavor, Laib manually harvests pollen from one plant at a time. This physically demanding activity involves devotion and discipline, and notions of time, labor, ritual, and the process of art making are rethought.
In conjunction with the installation, the Museum is showing a short film of Wolfgang Laib in his home and studio in southern Germany in the summer of 2012 and at MoMA in January 2013. It documents the artist’s working process, from the collection of pollen at a nearby pine forest to the completion of the work Pollen from Hazelnut at MoMA. It will be screened on a wall monitor adjacent to the Marron Atrium installation.
On Wednesday, February 13, 2013, Agnes Gund, President Emerita of The Museum of Modern Art, will join the artist in conversation about the
installation and his creative process.