Opening
Valentina Stieger «Indoor Life»
Renato Leotta
«Eine Sandsammlung»

28th September 2018, 6 p.m.

With «Indoor Life» by Valentina Stieger and «Eine Sandsammlung» (engl. «A Sand Collection») by Renato Leotta, Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen is showing two parallel exhibitions by artists who engage with the theme of sculpture in different ways.

Valentina Stieger (*1980) from St.Gallen is known for her installative and sculptural works which give rise to reinterpretations of the ordinary. The artist deals both with sculptural questions of post-minimalism and banal questions of taste in everyday life. Extraordinary forms and moments emerge that manifest themselves in precise spatial installations that are full of tension.

For the exhibition «Indoor Life» at the Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen Valentina Stieger developed her series Harmony Triumphs Again further and adapted it to the spatial conditions. Filigree metal frames, whose shape and dimensions are reminiscent of tables, extend through the exhibition rooms along the floor and the walls with the utmost precision. Here they form an almost three-dimensional coordinate system, which serves as orientation but is immediately deconstructed at the same time. Within a fixed set of sizes and proportions, Stieger plays with the various possibilities of composition and thus creates objects that, although still resembling furniture, have long since become independent sculptures. The objects deliberately have the same height as barriers in front of artworks in museums, and in places they also look like railings that guide visitors through the exhibition.

Wax objects bound to the metal frames function as abstractions of candles. By deliberately giving them a dominant role in the room, Stieger makes them more than just decorative elements. The artist consciously plays with materials, textures, surfaces and their effects. «Indoor Life» projects the viewers into a space that floats between a private home and representative contexts such as boutiques, department stores and museums.

The work of Renato Leotta (*1982) is closely connected to his place of origin, Sicily. It is here that he creates his works, which are often literally taken from Sicilian nature. Whether volcanic sand, sea water or the light of glow worms – Leotta uses nature as a starting point to create works of art that combine a minimalist vocabulary and poetry with ease.

Leotta's exhibition «Eine Sandsammlung» at the Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen shows a kind of sculptural archive of traces of the sea in the sand. Leotta's attempt to capture the moment when the waves hit the beach can be regarded as typical of the artist's way of working, who repeatedly shifts the natural environment of his homeland into an artistic context within poetic forms.

For this project, the artist visited various beaches in Sicily to record the encounters between waves and the beach. He made plaster casts directly on site and collected other materials such as sand, stones or shells. At the Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, these found objects are presented in a display that underscores the archival idea, forms an exact and complex cartography, and at the same time demonstrates the impossibility of this artistic endeavour.

Valentina Stieger (*1980 in St.Gallen/CH) lives and works in Zurich/CH. She studied Fine Arts at the FHNW Academy of Art and Design in Basel/CH and the Zurich University of the Arts, where she graduated in 2013 with a Master of Fine Arts. Solo and group exhibitions (selection): Alpenhof, St.Anton/CH; Hardraum, Basel/CH; Arte Castasegna, Bergell/CH (2018); Shedhalle, Zurich/CH (2017); Universität Zürich, Zurich/CH (2016); Kunstraum Engländerbau Vaduz, Vaduz/FL; Kunsthaus Glarus, Glarus/CH (2015); Kunstmuseum St.Gallen, St.Gallen/CH; Kunsthalle Basel, Basel/CH (2014); Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz/FL; Kunsthaus Langenthal, Langenthal/CH; Kunsthaus Baselland, Muttenz/CH (2013); rakete.co, Berlin/DE (2011).

Renato Leotta (*1982 in Sicily/IT), lives and works in Turin/IT. He studied at the Istituto Europeo di Design in Turin and graduated in 2010 with a Master of Fine Arts from the Fondazione Spinola Banna per l'Arte in Banna/IT. Solo exhibitions (selection): Madragoa, Lissabon/PT (2017); Galleria Fonti, Neapel/IT (2015); Amstelpark, Amsterdam/NL (2014); Torre Piacentini, Genua/IT (2013). Group exhibitions (selection): Manifesta, Palermo/IT (2018); MAC, Sao Paulo/BR; Christina Guerra, Lissabon/PT; MAM, Vienna/AT; NAK, Aachen/DE; Palazzo Fortuny, Venice/IT (2017); Quadriennale di Roma, Rome/IT (2016); Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels/BE (2015).

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