Pollen from Hazelnut is a constructed pollen field by artist Wolfgang Laib. Running at MoMA from 23 January until 11 March, this work is Laib’s largest pollen-based installation to date, taking up a huge 18 by 21 feet. The artist produced his first pollen field in 1977 and has since collected pollen on a yearly basis from spring to summer in various locations from forests and meadows near his home in southern Germany.
Working alone, this endeavor to collect pollen has become almost a ceremony for Laib as he harvests pollen from one plant at a time. It is a physically demanding activity and demands devotion and discipline from the artist. Collecting requires notions of time, labour, ritual, which approaches art making in a fresh way. In creating the work, Laib sieves the pollen directly onto the floor and as such, creates a ground of radiant colour that is both material and immaterial. When the exhibition concludes, he retrieves the pollen, cleans it, and stores it in glass jars. Pollen from Hazelnut is made up of the contents of 18 jars that have been collected since the mid-1990s. Pollen, which is usually so fragile, becomes a vibrant celebration of life in Laib’s work.
Wolfgang Laib: Pollen from Hazelnut, 23 January until 11 March, The Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53 Street, New York, NY 10019.
1. Wolfgang Laib sifting hazelnut pollen, 1992. Courtesy Sperone Westwater Gallery, New York.
2. Wolfgang Laib sifting hazelnut pollen, 1992. Courtesy Sperone Westwater Gallery, New York.