German conceptual artist Wolfgang Laib (Metzinger, Germany, 1950) began his career in the mid-seventies, after finishing medical school. He belonged to a family who had cultivated asceticism and made frequent trips to India and other Asian countries. He became interested in religion and mysticism from an early age which led him to delve into Eastern cultures and languages and to find, in art, the knowledge and the means to express his worldview. From then onwards he develops a work that is characterised by high purity and formal austerity. He uses natural materials with a strong symbolic and vital load, like beeswax, milk, pollen and rice, with which he intends to bring together art, nature and spirituality.
His works are thought of as a ritual, an integral process connected to a cosmic order, to the mystique of nature that has created different cultures and religions. They follow a cyclical process which tries to preserve a sense of purity connected to the natural order which involves the collection of materials in specific places and stations, meticulous assembly for exhibition and daily maintenance of the parts, which includes the recycling of elements that the pieces are made out of. A cyclical ritual in which each piece has been renewed again and again over the years, and the circle expands with new creations.
Laib's works, in contrast to his fragility, have enduring and eternal qualities. They allude to the importance and beauty of things that are both simple and essential for daily life. The influence of Eastern philosophy and religion is evident, but his work cannot be reduced to a clearly defined principle; he is also attracted to Western mystic traditions, as well as utopian aspects of avant-garde art and formal features of the minimalist environment, but intersected by a metaphysical dimension.
In this exhibition Laib presents four of his most compelling and representative pieces of his work, carriers of a cyclical and regenerative sense, in the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía where they seem to have an inaugural character. They ensure that the exhibition acquires the significance of this specific project.