CHRISTOPH WEBER: ON FOLD
For On Fold, Christoph Weber’s second solo exhibition at ProjecteSD, he proposes a new body of sculptures, where the artist’s known ability to defy the quality of the materials he works with and his interest in the process-based approach to art are clearly evidenced. Far from being a literal explanation to what the subject of the show is, On Fold, serves as a short, sharp statement to experience Weber’s work and his rich exploration of the sculptural possibilities.
The act of folding refers to a humble, simple, gentle action. It also denotes a certain sense of softness, which may seem contraposed to the inherent nature of some of the media used by Weber: concrete, steel, lead. On Fold is precisely about focusing on this antagonistic notion: going against the raw nature of the material to subvert it and move from there putting together what seems impossible to be connected. In a way On Fold is about finding new relations, transforming and finally expanding the idea of sculpture.
Blei (gefalzt), is a work of lead on wood which hangs on the main gallery wall. Two unrolled lead sheets are seamed together resulting in a wavy, uneven metallic surface. The idea of sculpture and its tridimensionality notion is challenged here, as the work may be perfectly approached as a painting.
Untitled (Involuntary Amalgamation) is an elegant sculpture where Weber joins stainless to regular steel, two materials that conventionally are never put together. A slender rod leaning on the wall, a work where the linking bond, the juncture between the two materialities is the focal point. In this sense the work associates visually with a smaller, lighter piece, Carton pierre, a collage of concrete traces and white papier-mâché on canvas. In contrast to what happens in Blei (gefalzt), the “folding” concept may refer here to the idea of the “edge”, the sharp upright crease in the center of the piece that being first experienced as a two dimensional work is expanded through its edge to a third plane object.
An interesting relation is created in the gallery space among three main concrete works: the two Untitled (Stahl, Beton) and Beton (um eine Kante gebogen). In the three sculptures one concrete slab, (in two cases combined with steel), appears gently cracked, smoothly collapsing or sensually folding against the surface it leans on. It feels very much as one would be looking at one single work, in motion. Three developments of one similar gesture, an action in transition, unfolding, evolving and adjusting to the space. The element of time, important in Weber’s thinking and artistic vocabulary is very present in these works as well as his interest in playing with the idea of the site-specificity.
Two more works stand out in the gallery space: Béton brut matrix and Untitled (Ideal Opposition Proposition). The first one is a combination of one drawing, sketching supposedly a column, with three free standing elements very much resembling a pedestal. Made in oak wood and steel they are in fact one unit, being the steel structures the unneeded mould or protecting shell for the oak base. An interesting decomposition exercise where, again, folding or better unfolding takes place and where the notions of drawing, moulding, casting, and object of display/support are touched. Untitled (Ideal Opposition Proposition) is a sculpture made with a glossy concrete slab supported by a 4-legged steel structure. Simple, direct, bare, seemingly without purpose, the work becomes sophisticated when we realise that on top of the concrete slab two thin lead pieces adhering to it as membranes, seem to have been left there, as in a casual, irrational gesture.
Last but not least, Untitled, rests on the white surface of the bench. A prismatic concrete piece almost fully covered by a voluptuous wrapping layer of wax. On Fold at its most, and a nice link to Weber’s 2012 exhibition at ProjecteSD*.
*Untitled (Wachsfaltung) is a simple foil of bent concrete originally cast flat between two layers of wax, that were finally melted away from the work. This work was presented on the white surface of the bench in Weber’s first exhibition “10, 25, 80” held in ProjecteSD, in 2012.