by Dilpreet BhullarOct 02, 2022
The large-scale installation art of Alois Kronschlaeger’s site-specific works opens a window to the wide scope of influences that are addressed in his works. From the avant-garde legacies of constructivism and post-minimalism to Jazz, architecture, all come into play to inform the works of Austria-born Kronschlaeger. He creates site-specific art installations and abstract art sculptures to play with the geometry of the built environment in order to explore environment, light, space, and time. The repetition in terms of the visual appearance of the sculpture art – be it colour or form, if it at once exudes a sense of poetic rhythm, then also disturbs the geometric patterns of its surroundings. The sculptural installations open the field dotted with optical and kinetic conditions to make the viewers reflect on the unseen part of their immediate environment.
Kronschlaeger’s Kind of Blue, a temporary immersive installation, presented by Cristin Tierney Gallery in New York, was displayed at the former retail space below the gallery on the Lower East Side. The classic album by the Jazz artist Miles Davis inspired this work - a personal favourite music piece of Kronschlaeger was conceived and recorded in New York City. The art installation echoes the central tenet of jazz music: rolling themes and variations occurring within a structured program. The 1500 square-foot gridded structure of 2 x 2-inch wooden planks, underlying more than 300 yards of blue Ultrasuede fabric, lend an appearance of loose, yet organic flow. In an interview with STIR, Kronschlaeger talks about his deep-seated interest in music, particularly Jazz, and how does it inform his art practice, “I listen to music constantly in the studio while I am working - music for me is a constant interaction. The grid structure of the installation was like the very linear form of the base, like everything jazz; and the fabric that I lay on it was on the lines of the very improvisational aspect, the curve linear, and how do two merges so it is a constant interaction. This is how I would sort of see my connection to music, so my studio practice is where the two coexist: art and music.”
Moreover, the site of public installation was of equal relevance to the sculptural installation since in parts of Manhattan, thousands of years back, the animals would visit the place in search of fresh water to quench their thirst. The undulating blue surface of the installation Kind of Blue hints at this quest as well as the hills are integral to the topography of Manhattan. The immersive art allows the viewers to navigate through the structures of the installation to realise that the interior structure of the piece divulges as one moves through it. What was perceived to be soft and pliable on the exterior is buttressed by highly structured and geometric forms. For the Austrian artist, the immersive experience around the work is analogous to the deep dive into the ocean: where one holds the breath and gradually returns to the surface of the ocean. “You contemplate the various blues and then when you are ready to surface the real world again you step out onto the place of Kind of Blue.”
Talking about the immersive quality of Kind of Blue, Kronschlaeger illustrates, “While doing site-specific art installations it is always significant to know how the viewers position themselves to activate the space with their presence. For instance, during the installation Kind of Blue, the viewer could navigate freely and also had multiple means of egress...but it was created in a way where one could get lost within the installation. It is really interesting how the viewers respond to it and how they are also being challenged to the practice of navigation, and if they become protagonists within this space.”
The Allotropisms was another site-specific installation by Kronschlaeger that was 15 feet high and spanning a length of 65 feet. A combination of the elements of biomorphic and geometric abstraction was shaped by the wire mesh, wood and poured paint. On the lines of Allotropisms and Kind of Blue, the installation of the Polychromatic Contemplation lies at the intersection of conceptual structure and material form. The installation art consists of the tower structures composed of coloured lattices and yarn work perched on the brickwork foundations. The repeated grid structure made with the painted rods and the mesh matrices determines the artwork design. The vertical structure of the towers on the horizontal floor creates a psychedelic environment to defy the singular precision of the architecture.
It is the judicious combination of minimalism and conceptual thought of the site-specific installations by Kronschlaeger that catches the attention of the viewers to explore, contemplate and reflect upon the built structures in an unprecedented manner.