Wolfgang Laib


    For Wolfgang Laib, pollen is an extraordinary substance that signifies renewal, boundless energy, the temporal, the eternal, and the cycle of the seasons. This Spring more than ever, the process of solitary, humble harvesting has become a resonant metaphor for the way that nature — and art — can prompt us to search for meaning and our place in the world, a thought expressed in a statement released by the artist.

    Smiley face

    Smiley face

    Smiley face


    Images: Wolfgang Laib. Untitled, 2002 Oil pastel and pencil on paper Sheet. 63 x 90 cm (24,8 x 35,43 in) Frame 75,5 x 102,5 x 1,5 cm (29,72 x 40,35 x ,59 in).

    Wolfgang Laib, Collecting Pollen, handwritten statement, May 2020. 



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  • September 3, 2017 - January 7, 2018
    Museo d’arte della Svizzera italiana, Lugano
    LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura
    Piazza Bernardino Luini 6

    MASI is hosting a major monographic exhibition dedicated to Wolfgang Laib, a German artist whose work in the contemporary artistic scene stands out for its essentialness, clarity, and depth of thought. The exhibition project, planned in close collaboration with the artist himself, comprises 50 works, including sculptures, photographs, drawings, and installations that explore all the areas of his creative universe.


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    January 14, 2017 - February 6, 2017
    Maha Bandoola Rd
    Yangon, Myanmar

    Opening January,14th | 2:30 PM

    Wolfgang Laib’s works - mainly sculptures and installations - evade the conventional categories of the global art market. They are calm, minimalistic and reduced to the essential. The most precious ingredients of life such as pollen, bee wax, milk or pure marble stone turn into intense images of beauty.

    They are deeply rooted in a spiritual vision of our world. Through their immateriality they reveal the deeper meaning of life hidden behind the surface of the things around us. Since his youth, Wolfgang Laib felt attracted by Asian Philosophies and Religions. He spends part of his life on his own land in Southern India.

    Before settling in India he was considering of getting a pied-à-terre in Myanmar. That plan didn’t materialize for several reasons, but it remained a dream of his to bring some of his art to this country. His works require large spaces to exert their impact on the visitor.

    Both of these – Laib’s affinity with Burma and the spatial prerequisites for his art - were the basis from which the idea of a major exhibition at the Secretariat in Yangon arose.

    The Goethe-Institut Myanmar together with the Institute for Foreign Relations (IFA) in Stuttgart/Germany will bring some prominent works by Laib to Myanmar. The exhibition at the old heritage building will be possibly one of the most important art events in Myanmar in the past years. It will highlight the intention of the city of Yangon to dedicate the unique piece of architecture in the near future predominantly to arts and culture.


    Opening January,14th | 2:30 PM



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  • Praemium Imperiale 2015
    October 21, 2015 - October 21, 2015

    The German sculptor Wolfgang Laib will be honoured with this year's Praemium Imperiale. The Japanese prize, which is considered as one of the most prestigious art prizes in the world, is awarded for outstanding contributions to the development, promotion and progress of the arts. Wolfgang Laib will receive the Praemium Imperiale on 21 October 2015 in Tokyo, Japan.

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  • Senusret III, a Legendary Pharaoh
    October 9, 2014 - January 25, 2015
    Palais des Beaux Arts de Lille, Lille, France

    From 9 October 2014 the Palais des Beaux Arts de Lille presents "Senusret III, a Legendary Pharaoh", a major exhibition on Egypt. As a prelude to the exhibition, the museum’s atrium will be showing contemporary works of art by Antony Gormley and Wolfgang Laib. The title, “Journey after Life,” directly refers to the Egyptian beliefs in a life after death, and to the rites and the artistic works that represented a dialogue between the world of the living and that of the dead.

    Whether in the sculptures with a human figure by Antony Gormley or in Wolfgang Laib’s work on natural substances, such as beeswax or rice, both pose, in a personal manner, the existential questions about passing from the living to the dead, and the soul’s immortality.

    For more information about the exhibition please click here

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  • Basilica of Sant' Apollinare in Classe
    October 3, 2014 - November 23, 2014
    Basilica di Sant’Apollinare in Classe - Via Romea Sud, 224

    Following his visit to Ravenna, the German artist Wolfgang Laib created a temporary installation inside the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe. Characterized by the use of natural materials like pollen and beeswax, Laib's artwork is a tribute to St. Apollinaris, the patron saint of Ravenna, whose figure stands at the centre of the mosaic decoration of the apse wearing a dress adorned with bees. For more information about the temporary installation please click here

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  • Where have you gone – where are you going? The Wax Room
    From March 2, 2013
    The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC

    The Phillips Collection is opening this March the Wax Room by German artist Wolfgang Laib. For this particular work titled

    'Where have you gone – where are you going?', Wolfgang Laib melted approximately 660 pounds of wax at a constant temperature to achieve a uniform golden hue.


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  • Pollen from Hazelnut
    January 23, 2013 - March 11, 2013
    The Museum of Modern Art New York

    Wolfgang Laib’s Pollen from Hazelnut will inhabit the Museum’s Atrium, infusing the space with a yellow luminosity. Laib perceives the Atrium as the Museum’s inner sanctum, its womb, and has created this work especially for the site. It will be the artist’s largest pollen installation to date. The pollen used in MoMA’s installation has been collected by Laib from the natural environment around his home and studio, in a small village in southern Germany, since the mid-1990s.


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    November 8, 2012 - December 17, 2012
    Vehedra Art Gallery
    D-53 Defence Colony, New Delhi

    Wolfgang Laib's new body of works demonstrate the artists way of using materials as well as the nature of a working process both in a singular simplicity, purity and calm concentration. His work is characterised less by innovation or formal development than by strict continuity: regular series of repeated processes, collecting and utilising the same basic essentials – natural substances such as milk, pollen, rice, beeswax and marble – are designed to enhance awareness of the transience of phenomena, and to encourage the mental quest for serenity and closeness to the transcendental. Laib's formal vocabulary, which tends towards abstraction, is based on geometrical figures and bodies such as rectangle, circle, pyramid and cone; only a few alterations transform these into stylised, archetypal motifs of house, mountain, boat or stairs.

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