The German artist Wolfgang Laib has been making work since the 70′s. Originally studying to become a doctor, Laib perceived early on that what he wanted to do was more aligned with art rather than science. In one of his interviews he talks about this early life descision:
“What I searched for in medicine and what I couldn’t find, I hope to find with my artworks, with my life. I think that I never changed my profession. I just did what I’m now doing, what I wanted to do as a doctor. But I also feel (and most people think that this is very naive) that art has much more power than medicine. I mean, medicine is very important for us, but it’s just about the physical body, and it doesn’t stretch far beyond that. If art is really good it can include everything. It’s the most important thing. That’s why I became an artist and didn’t become a monk or work as a doctor. Art is most important and therefore I would call myself an artist and what I do art.”
Laib uses materials found in nature such as flower pollen that he himself collects over the summer months, milk, beeswax, marble, rice. An intense material presence is achieved in Laib’s sparse, yet poignant installations, such as beeswax covered rooms, carved-out stone blocks that hold milk and pollen mounds. Laib’s work possesses a monumental quality rare in today’s art. Even on a small scale, as in his Milkstones, the pieces seem huge in what they evoke – a sense of order that is mysterious in its origins yet somehow palpable, and miraculously present before our eyes and even despite them.