February 8 − March 22, 2014
Coinciding with the exhibition of Iris Schomaker, Galerie Thomas Schulte is pleased to present for the first time the sculptor, Leunora Salihu. In the Corner Space her site-specific installation, Wurf, will be shown and in the Window Space will be a group of drawings by the artist.
In her works, Leunora Salihu manages to create complex forms out of a variety of different materials, which evoke a plethora of associations within the viewer, as they seem to be abstract developments in already familiar shapes. In construction, the artist adds serially manufactured modules to objects, which are equally defined by the surface as by the space that surrounds them. Depending on the point of view, Salihus’s bodies of space grant various impressions and perspectives and convey a lively and dynamic sensation in their rhythmic repetition of an array of round and square elements and their occlusive and open components. The artist herself describes her work as a “complex set of industrial, architectural, and organic forms. They formulate the possibilities and limits of suggested movement, of compounds of organic and constructive form-elements and their seeming functionality, as well as transitions between sculpture and pedestal; exterior and interior.” By abstracting and estranging familiar shapes from everyday life, Salihu creates broad fields of associations, yet, all deriving from the same, unique setting. The viewer is not able to categorize them.
The artist considers dealing with one’s own body paramount in the development of her structures. Her work has an evident relation to the proportion of the human body. Just as the encounter of someone opposite one’s self, the viewer experiences physical presence toward the sculpture in the room. The viewer relates his own physicality to the structure and, thus, becomes an integral part of the work. Another central issue for Salihu is the nature of the chosen materials. The use of wood, plaster, steel, clay, and plastic also dictate the color palette of her works, for she refrains from applying color. Shape and material affect are put into the foreground.
The focus of the work, Wurf, designed specifically for the Corner Space, is an over two meter high structure, which suggests movement through the rhythmic repetition of its individual elements. Similar to the shell of a beetle, the plastic-coated multiplex boards, screwed to one another, bulge forward. Thin struts span a connection between the convex and concave shape, which comprise the sculpture. The sculpture, which only touches the ground at a few points, really comes to life through its plastic coating. In relation to inside and outside, to the shell, the surrounding space, the cavities and the spaces between the structures, a fragile balance is generated, which in turn is contrasted by the actual severity of the materials.
Salihu’s two wall pieces, which are arranged at different heights in the room, serve somewhat as a supplement for her large sculpture. As negative shapes, they are counterpart to the form and content of the sculpture and directly reference the artistic work process. The sculpture seems to have emerged from the two complementary claddings, as they form his artistic origin. If the negative shape is otherwise lost in sculpting, than it is an alone-standing object in Salihu’s work. The tripartite relationship of the works reflects the division of the Corner Space, with its three large windows, stretching from floor to ceiling and opening to the Leipzigerstraße.