Klaus Weber at Nottingham Contemporary
Visiting the Klaus Weber show at Nottingham Contemporary the other day I realised that one of the things I like a lot about Nottingham Contemporary is that the gallery attendants talk to you about the art, if you want them to.
I noticed that in this piece one of the heads was missing…
…and I had fallen for the artist’s little joke when I asked the attendant of it had actually been stolen or damaged or if it was part of the piece. You guessed the answer! I asked if she had met the artist, which of course she had, and was able to tell me all about his visit to the gallery.
The exhibition, showing until 8 January 2012, is in two parts: If you leave me I’m not coming is Weber’s solo show, whereas Already there! is Weber’s selection of artifacts from the Science Museum, The Ashmolean Museum, Berlin’s Bode Museum, Archaeological and Zoological collections of University College London and art works mostly from the Tate collection.
Already there! represents our tentative understanding of ourselves – belief systems since discredited or abandoned. The exhibition is perhaps a memento mori of our own scientific and social systems – now the apogee of human achievement. In the future our own artefacts will be just as charged and curious Weber seems to suggest – part of another natural process of decay.
(from the notes on the exhibition web page)
As well as the heads already mentioned If you leave me I’m not coming includes Bee Paintings, looking like abstract paintings of dots and blobs they are actually the record of bee performance,
every year when the bees first leave the hive they perform a ‘cleansing flight’ when they excrete, preferably on clean white surfaces. In this casethey have obligingly decorated Weber’s canvases.
In the little video I have posted here the Bee Paintings can be seen behind the Large Dark Wind Chime (Arab Tritone). What would usually be a small garden ornament, cheerfully making audible the natural force of the wind, is here a gigantic object set in motion by electirc fans and tuned to the “devils music” or the “tritone”. Click on the video clip to hear it.
The video starts with Weber’s massive “windscreen wipers” constantly clearing away the artificial rain that pours down the inside of the gallery window.