art KARLSRUHE is one of the biggest art fairs in Germany for Classical, Modern and Contemporary art. It takes place in Karlsruhe, a city in the south west of Germany in a region famous for its wealth and production of Mercedes and Porsche! Consequently, art KARLSRUHE 2011 was packed with the Hermes carrying middle aged to the Chanel draped OAP's who wanted to top up their intake of culture and possibly find something pleasantly conservative to decorate the dinning room.
And as for the art itself it was not much different. However there were a few galleries that stood out and made the fair worth the trip. The exhibition by Alexandra Rockelmann was inspiring (Galerie OPEN). The gallery itself, based in Berlin, specialises in young, contemporary artists and had selected works by the American artist, Kathleen Vance, for their solo-show for the fair.
Vance grew up in the countryside and moved to New York to study art. Missing her family farm she decided to take a bit of 'home' with her, and made her 'Travelling Landscapes'. Sitting on a pedestal lies an old vanity case with the lid held open just enough to reveal a miniature landscape, complete with a trickling stream. A miniature natural world that you can take with you wherever you go. The gentle sound of the running water and its reflection in the mirror in the lid of the case causes you to double take and move closer to investigate this small, contained package of surrealism.
Filling the space behind the small case is a vast, twisting, coiled loop of wood. Fallen branches gathered from the floor of a wood are connected together with natural twine so tightly that the immense structure is completely self-supported. With no beginning and no end, the installation holds your curiosity as you try to work out and understand its movement through the space and around itself.
On the wall of the booth are delicate ink drawings showing intricate detailed snapshots from the woods where the branches were collected. The selection of drawings show Vance’s technical capability and supported by the installation and the ‘Travelling Landscape’ one is able to appreciate her imagination, creativity and diversity that makes her an artist to keep an eye on in the future.