Wolfgang Laib: Pollen from Hazelnut

Wolfgang Laib’s largest installation to date will see the German artist fill the atrium in MoMA with masses of bright yellow bee pollen.

The contemporary artist has been collecting natural pollen from the meadows and woodlands surrounding his home in Southern Germany for over 30 years. To Laib, the pollen’s vibrant yellow hue and fragile state represents “beginning”; a celebration of life and nature’s boundless energy.

“Pollen is the potential beginning of the life of the plant. It is as simple, as beautiful, and as complex as this. And of course it has so many meanings. I think everybody who lives knows that pollen is important.”

Laib’s process is ritualistic and time-honored, as only one flower can be harvested at a time. Having previously worked with milk, rice or beeswax, Laib selects his natural supplies based on “their purity and symbolic value”, bringing focus towards nature’s unique processes.

Laib has cited the Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium at MoMA as being the womb of the museum. Following the exhibition, which will run from January 23 through March 11, 2013, Laib will collect the pollen and seal it in glass jars to create a unique memento, while also highlighting the need to protect and preserve nature’s delicate resources.

See our recent In the Air report Plant Stories, in which we uncover the mysteries of nature, and the way humans and technology can interact with, and learn from, biology for future harmony.

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