Anne Wenzel: The Opaque Palace / TENT Rotterdam
February 6 - May 5, 2014
Opening reception: Thursday, February 6th, from 8 pm.
The Opaque Palace transforms the exhibition spaces of TENT into an installation in which the monumental sculptures of Anne Wenzel (DE, lives and works in Rotterdam) provide a coherent representation of the major themes in her work – power, destruction, heroism, history – and a new series of sculptures are introduced. Daria de Beauvais, from Palais de Tokyo, Paris, has curated the exhibition. With Anne Wenzel’s solo exhibition, her largest yet, TENT celebrates the re-opening of its newly renovated building.
The Opaque Palace exhibition unfolds as a route through an abandoned palace laden with old, long forgotten stories. A palace where light enters through a broken window, and a net curtain is stirred by the breeze. For her largest solo exhibition yet, Anne Wenzel uses works from the past decade to construct a mental puzzle in TENT. With every space you enter, the function, symbolism, and impact of the objects seem to be further derailed, until they seemingly dislodge from their traditional meaning: sculptures become trophies (or quite the opposite), either paying tribute to heroes or denying heroism altogether. Anne Wenzel’s work resists any interpretation lurking behind their undeniable physicality.
In the monumental emptiness of the main hall, which could be interpreted as a ballroom, a black chandelier has slumped before a wall of shiny gold; the object of light becomes an extinguished mass. In TENT’s back space, Wenzel presents her latest series of works, Attempted Decadence: a group of lavishly decorated ceramic flower sculptures. What life remains – temporarily saved by the art – is already a witness to its own decline. In this ‘Opaque Palace’, everyone is free to reinvent the past that made visions like this possible.
From a strong historical sense and with great political engagement, Anne Wenzel puts the role of art in the portrayal of power, heroism, and violence in another light. She is renowned for her self-determined approach to handling materials and technology. Experimenting with extremes of scale, chemical additions, and radical deformation, she seeks out the boundaries of the sculptural medium. Wenzel draws inspiration for her monumental ceramic sculptures from historical sources, film, and literature, as well as from the media and its newsworthy images of natural disasters, conflict, and acts of war. Her attention to universal subjects connects her to a growing number of artists who transcend post-modern irony and are not afraid to, again, address existential themes.
Wenzel has lived and worked in Rotterdam since 1999. Her work is included in museum collections (Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Stedelijk Museum ‘s Hertogenbosch, S.M.A.K. Ghent, et al.) and in many private collections. She is represented by gallery AKINCI in Amsterdam, Galerie Tatjana Pieters in Ghent, and Galerie Suzanne Tarasieve in Paris.
Accompanying the exhibition is an extensive monograph, Anne Wenzel - Prospects of Perception, published by Lecturis in collaboration with TENT and designed by 75B. It includes texts by Philippe Van Cauteren (director S.M.A.K. Ghent), Sjarel Ex (director Museum Boijmans van Beuningen), Daria de Beauvais (curator Palais de Tokyo, Paris) and Mariette Dölle (artistic director TENT), and photographs of her most important sculptures and installations from the past decade.