Negative Space: Trajectories of Sculpture

Negative Space: Trajectories of Sculpture

Until 11 August, Refik Anadol is part of a group exhibition titled Negative Space at ZKM Karlsruhe, where he presents his acclaimed work Infinity Room. The exhibition, curated by Peter Weibel, examines the trajectory of contemporary sculpture, which over time moves increasingly away from the monolithic and body-centric and towards the distributed and multidimensional.

The exhibition features work by over 200 artists, past and present, whose work disrupts the traditionally dominant philosophical, cultural and scientific notions which influence sculpture. Alongside Anadol, artists exhibiting include Jeffrey Shaw, Marcel Duchamp, Olafur Eliasson, Antony Gormley, Anthony McCall, Ana Mendieta, Alicja Kwade, Anish Kapoor, Henry Moore, Tomás Saraceno, Andy Warhol and Rachel Whiteread. Negative Space follows on from the questions posed by the 1986 exhibition Qu’est-ce que la sculpture moderne at the Centre Georges Pompidou.

The term Negative Space denotes the space around a form, whose presence activates the form. Form and negative space are inextricably linked, essential to one another. The exhibition at ZKM presents work that first focuses on negative space, then questions its forced separation from form. The works in the exhibition look at sculpture through a variety of spatial concepts, thus avoiding simplifying the field of sculpture or the rendering of material into form along the often-travelled lines of mass, unbroken volume and gravity. The solid and self contained are in this exhibition fragmented, dispersed, mirrored and unfolded. Hollow spaces, diaphanous spaces, distributed spaces, immersive spaces, virtual spaces, fluid spaces, light and shadow spaces; all and more are available, in their particular ways, through the works on display.

“The exhibition offers a comprehensive overview of the art of sculpture, which – in contrast to the traditional concept – is committed to contour, emptiness, and levitation. Visitors will encounter what is light instead of heavy, what is not full but empty, what is marked open instead of closed, what is not dense but diaphanous, airy, and light.” - ZKM

The collected works in the exhibition expand enormously the dimension available for sculpture to explore. It is simultaneously a document, a chronology of what has passed and is currently passing, and a provocation to sculptors of the future.


Negative Space is at ZKM, Lorenzstraße 19, 76135 Karlsruhe, Germany from 6 April to 11 August.

Infinity Room - [TIEE] from Refik Anadol on Vimeo.

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