Lori Hersberger: Heroic Nihilism

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, Salzburg, Salzburg, 11/27/2010 - 03/26/2011


We take pleasure in announcing our fifth exhibition of works by the Zurich-based artist Lori Hersberger (b 1964). Central to the exhibition are five sculptures from the Cuboids series, which were on show from September 2008 until January 2009 in Hersberger's major solo exhibition Phantom Studies in the Musée dʼArt Contemporain in Lyon.

One of the basic characteristics of Lori Hersberger's works is the highly effective combination of different procedures, materials and content. His work focuses on multimedial constructs: site-related installations with carpets and darkened rooms in which props such as mirrors, neon lights and straw are combined with video projections and painting. Even as a student during the 1990s at the Basel School of Design, Hersberger did not concentrate on any particular genre. He studied video art and sculpture, and his undogmatic choice of various media and materials became the distinctive mark of his work. Video installation, painting, performance and installation combine to form a complementary artistic cosmos.

In the exhibition Nonchalance Revisited (1998) in the Atrium of the Berlin Academy of Art, Hersberger showed a site-related landscape of carpets. Having seen this work, Harald Szeemann invited Hersberger to the 1999 Venice Biennale. The monumental work he created here, consisting of floating second-hand carpets and entitled Archaic Modern Suite, brought him instant international fame. It expresses Hersberger's artistic mentality: a combination of Modernist post-war avant-garde and contrasting elements such as intimacy and publicity, contemplation and aggressiveness. His work is consistently concerned with trends in recent art history, with echoes of Hard-Edge, Minimal, Land Art and Pop, all transferred into a contemporary context.

Reacting sensitively to the given space will be essential in Heroic Nihilism. "For Lori Hersberger, art is always a three-dimensional event - both in a mental and in an architectural sense. The artist ultimately considers the dimension of space the true opportunity, especially for painting. Therefore, for him, the edge of a picture only delineates it to a certain degree. Again and again, the colours of his installations break out of the four sides of the picture and occupy the surrounding walls. They appear as garishly challenging soloists, but mysteriously remain connected. The mirrors Lori Hersberger has recently been using more often in his work play an important role here. By skilfully arranging them in the room, the reflection of the fragmented individual parts suddenly forms a surprising overall picture. Depending on the position and perspective of the viewer, it is continuously reconstituted" (Mirjam Varadinis). 

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