Pillars Sliding off Coat-ee
Kunstverein Hamburg / HAMBURG (Germany)
28.01.2017 – 02.04.2017

In cooperation with Neue Kunst in Hamburg e.V., the Kunstverein is pleased to present the young artist Daiga Grantina (*1985 in Riga, Latvia) with her first major solo exhibition in Germany. The show marks the start of the Kunstverein’s Best & Boldest series featuring a variety of young artists who work in all media and with different convictions, but have one thing in common: the multifaceted engagement with questions of our reality.

Daiga Grantina sculpts voluptuous shapes from perforated and semi-transparent surfaces. Between apparent monumentality and frail lightness, Grantina’s organic sculptures drip, climb, or float through the exhibition space, seemingly undergoing constant metamorphosis of supposed opposite material states such as liquid and solid or soft and hard.
While thriving on a long list of sculptural and painterly positions, a particular reference for Granti- na’s exhibition at the Kunstverein is the iconic painting The Mountain (1936-37) by the notorious French artist Balthus, whose characters she transferred to three-dimensionality and disassembled into amorphous shapes.
The voluminous sculptures function as organisms made of industrial materials and knick-knacks. PVC, ventilation pipes, iridescent wires, and cable ties assume allegorical functions as organs or bowels, referring to the technical augmentations of the body today. Spun as bundles between floor and ceiling, Grantina’s current series of works—the so-called Buffs—are cocoon-like bodies or exoskeletons, created from expanded elastane stiffened by a cover of liquid plastic.
Combining recent and new pieces, a focal point for this exhibition is its strong methodological reference to the manufacturing of the soft candy: Salt Water Taffy. According to scientist Otto Rössler, the machine producing this gluey all-American sweet the “Taffy Puller” is illustrating the rules of chaotic, fluid dynamics. The edible sugar bonbon is made by stretching a crystalline mass and re-layering this via a continuous rotation from surface to depth—installing air in its midst—each moment of the process being unique and unrepeatable. Inspiring the on-going coalescence of matter in her artistic practice, Grantina’s irretrievable gestures run in similar non-linear orbits.
Instead of a traditional sculptural permanence or solidity, her pieces give (even after their creation) an impression of ceaseless transformation. At the Kunstverein, Grantina’s matter subtly absorbs its surrounding exhibition space into a grand three-dimensional tableau. In an equally invasive and inclusive drive her intervention shifts, col- ours, and undresses the institutional pillars and walls. A narrative audio guide by author Mary Rinebold Copeland forms a tangential story, emerging from her conversations with Grantina, and invites the viewer to weave the disparate visual and audible components into a montage-like, cinematographic experience.

Curated by Rhea Dall

Courtesy of the artist
Photocredit Fred Dott