A joint snapping, a straining ligament about to break, the thud of a bone breaking after a fall… this physical and threatening tension is what vibrates through Ian Waelder’s latest work, a series of works on linen and sculptures made in Mallorca, at the L21 x Fundación Camper Residency, as well as in his studio in Frankfurt am Main. Under the name Das Kniegelenk, which we can translate from German as something like ‘the knee’s joint’, his work explores movement and fragility, linked in both being a condition of the experience of being a body.
Some of the activity in Ian’s studio is registered by layers in these new canvases, giving them memory and depth. Sometimes it’s text, other times, spray or photos that remind us the need to go out to the surface and breathe. On the raw linen, like mud after rain, the prints are meticulously recorded: the abstraction of a footstep, the scratches that tear the fabric’s fibers, which remains open to the process’ contingency.
Unexpectedly, I once saw him in the street taking a cardboard tube from a nearby dumpster. That tube was used for a piece that is now standing on the floor of the exhibition room. Contingency and flexibility, also found in his series of sculptures with ‘still movement’ as the main theme. Most of these pieces have been made from objects found in the vicinity of the gallery. These are fragile and precarious elements, papier mache, cardboard or wood; which in some cases are, however, forced to maintain their posture after being cast in bronze. Despite this, they give the impression that they might unfreeze at any moment to continue their movement and give the next step.
The delicate relationship between weight and balance connects once again with the concept of the joint: it’s the point of contact, both a solid and flexible union which allows for mobility. And with it, almost inevitably, also the possibility to bend, fall and feel pain.
Ian Waelder (b.1993) is a Spanish-American artist living and working in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, where he currently attends the class by Haegue Yang at the Städelschule. In his recent solo exhibitions, we find We feel untied, but why? (curated by Sonia Fernández Pan at Centro Párraga, Murcia, 2018), Who Would Be Interested in an Empty Parking Lot? (The Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki, 2018), SUEDE (L21, Mallorca, 2016) and The Noise, The Traces and Marks (LOCAL Arte Contemporáneo, Santiago de Chile, 2015). He’s also shown in two-person and group exhibitions at Ana Mas Projects (Barcelona, 2016), Galería Bacelos (Madrid, 2016), Salón (Madrid, 2015), L21 (Madrid and Mallorca, 2014-2018), Sant Andreu Contemporani (Barcelona, 2014 and 2016) and La Casa Encendida (Madrid, 2014).