Christoph Weber

08 May - 27 Jul 2012

Installation view: 10, 25, 80, ProjecteSD, Barcelona, 2012
Photo © Roberto Ruiz
10, 25, 80
8 May - 27 July 2012

A preference for simple, industrial, raw materials and an intense interaction with their physical properties are among the aspects commonly found in the work by Christoph Weber (*1974, Vienna). His work brings into play a reflection on idea, process and method. His conceptual research is expressed mainly through sculpture. Reminiscent of the Arte Povera and Minimalism tradition, ranging from massive to fragile, all of Weber’s presentations bear a sensual, almost organic elegance.

10, 25, 80, Weber’s first solo exhibition at ProjecteSD, brings together a selection of seven new sculptures, all produced with and through one medium: concrete. Weber’s use and choice of this material defies its primary qualities, namely its roughness, rigidity and its symbolic power linked to the industrialization of the past century. The title of the show is a direct yet coded reference, which refers to the material and to the proportions of its components: water, cement and sand. A straightforward statement and a nice link to the first work Weber presented at ProjecteSD Untitled (Base line).

10, 25, 80 clearly embodies the working methods of the artist, his ability to transform, with refined moulding, imprinting techniques, and sets a space where through repetition, construction, deconstruction, and contextual displacements through the transfer of materials, Weber takes us to what he himself called “methodological retracing”, a possible definition of how he views his art, where a number of elements fuse to create a whole in which his conceptual analysis, is brought into a perceptible form by the artistic process.

A constellation of six sculptures are displayed in the main exhibition space. Linear constructions are combined with bent shapes, single elements with sculptural doubles.

Not to be titled (graues holz) (grey wood) is a lose arrangement of eleven planks of different sizes where the skin of wood is transferred onto the concrete element. Composed as in a found, maybe abandoned construction site, the sculptural ensemble seems to want to preserve a certain quality from decaying. Artificial becomes natural in Weber’s hands.

Beton (gehoben) (concrete lifted) is suspended in the left side of the main space. A piece of white tarpaulin carefully nesting a lump of raw concrete in an almost inseparable, symbiotic association. This work is directly related to Beton (gerollt) (concrete rolled), shown at the entrance space of the gallery, another elegant folded piece of white tarpaulin embracing an amorphous mass of concrete. Both works are references to the act of working with the material, resulting from the physical interaction between the cloth and the fluid blend of materials.

Bent inversion (lehnend) and Bent inversion (seitlich stehend) are two curved double faced thin plates of concrete, one leaning on the floor and the other standing on its side against the wall. Apparently in a precarious balance, their partially shown, partially hidden inverted surfaces, bear a sensual fragility which seems to neutralize the roughness and cold rigidity of the material they are made of.

A note of tension seems to be introduced in Not yet titled. A compact yet disrupted, cracked small concrete block where the paradox between the strong material and the fragility of its condition is again made visible. Despite its manifested imperfection, there is a latent, intriguing force condensed in this sculpture.

Untitled (Wachsfaltung) seems to be the last element in the landscape of works displayed in the show. A simple foil of concrete bent in such a soft, delicate gesture that totally defies its materiality. Originally cast flat between two layers of wax, this material was finally melted away from the work as if in a desire to reach for a bare essentiality. Resting on the white surface of the bench, of extreme austerity and haptic quality, the artwork is endowed with a subtle power.

Weber’s exhibition is an striking combination of construction and deconstruction, where a sense of the ephemeral paradoxically emerges out of the solidness of his objects. In this sense, the quote by El Lissitzky seems to work well as a closing statement: “every form is a frozen snapshot of the process. And the artwork is a stop on the path of becoming, and never just a static goal”.

*Untitled (Base Line) was part of the exhibition Reception: Pieter Vermeersch hosts... shown at ProjecteSD in 2009. The work can be seen as a materialized construction of a line. Three raw elements, water, concrete and wood, blend to create an abstract, organic composition.

Tags: El Lissitzky, Pieter Vermeersch, Christoph Weber