The works of Wanda Stolle explore philosophical questions on perception and imagery. In monochrome, large-scale sculptures, minimalist collages and drawings she investigates form, spatiality, body and surface. She uses hidden drawings, the reflection of light in the materials and trompe-l'œil effects to draw the viewer to interact and investigate the artwork. The works balance between abstraction and representation, of hiding and revealing. They capture poetic moments between movement and stillness and simultaneously give the impression of weight and lightness.
Wanda Stolle lives and works in Berlin, Germany. She studied fine arts at Universität der Künste Berlin, attending her masters for professor Pia Fries (2013). She has received multiple awards and stipends including Goldrausch Künstlerinnenprojekt Art IT and Elsa-Neumann-Stipendium des Landes Berlin.
“In all these gray shades, there is so much color that I don’t need to add colorful colors […] I think if I would put in more color they would lose their deepness in a way”
The large-scale wall installation was inspired by a paper formation in Wanda Stolle’s studio. The reference to paper is also a reference to drawing. The interplay between the shadows and the white color create a movement in the sculpture. A drawing hides inside the curved edge encouraging the viewer to come closer to investigate and experience the inverted front and backside of the work. Stolle describes it as her wall installations almost reach out to the viewer, coming off the wall, wanting to interact with them. The theories of French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty on how we humans experience the world and art through our bodies, is a large influence on Stolle’s work. Through encouraging the viewer to move their body around the body of the artwork Stolle is able to further investigate the question on perception.
Shaped like a curtain this large-scale wall installation plays with the notions of hiding and revealing, stillness and movement, painting and sculpture. A curtain from a Rembrandt painting inspired Wanda Stolle to explore the notions connected to the curtain and drapes, it becomes part of an imaginary narrative, the illusion that there is something behind the curtain. When a viewer passes the curtain installation the air makes the different parts of the curtain move, Wanda explains that this is part of how the work interacts with the viewer - as the viewer moves his or her body, the artwork will move its body. Installed separated from the wall the work gives the viewer the ability to walk around it to explore all angles.
The graphite surface of Untitled 2011 refers to Stolle’s early monochrome paintings. Through the slight movement at the top, the work tries to touch the room and get into a three-dimensional space. The viewer can see their own body in the reflection of the surface. The graphite is added as a paste by hand and you can trace the subtle hand movements on the surface.
The shapes and forms in Untitled, 2014 are inspired by a comet. The lines and patterns are cut out of paper through an extensive process, the paper is covered in several layers of ink and the cuts reveal the surface beneath. The work captures a moment before the forms vanish. The strong horizontal lines of the frame distort the view and create a space for reflection.
In the drawings of Stolle, small cuts reveal light and surface in the ink covered paper. Astronomical formations are uncovered and the layers of bare surface and ink create a reference to sculpture.
The collages of Wanda Stolle bare strong references to sculptural forms. Untitled 2013 captures the soft fall of the folds and wrinkles in a piece of clothing or a curtain. The folds, captured from stone or wood sculptures, both explore materials and play with our preconceived notions of the tangible and the transient.
Seen from an exact angle about 1.5 meters from the installation, the viewer will experience the illusion of a straight horizontal line at the bottom of the artwork, parallel to the floor. Through the large scale and the slight angle, the artwork tries to conquer the room and get in contact with the viewer. The work becomes active, perhaps teaching the viewer how to look at it and thus experience it in certain ways.
When I ask Wanda Stolle about her view on perception and images she concludes
“You can never totally explain what an image is, but the question is a good source for my work, it drives me on”.
The works of Wanda Stolle can be seen next in Berlin at the renowned group exhibition for Berlin Art Prize 2015, which she is also nominated for.
Address: DISTRICT Berlin | Bessemerstraße 2-14 | 12103 Berlin Exhibition opening: June 12, 2015
Interview and text by Maria Björnsdotter
Courtesy of the Artist