AboutIan Kiaer (b. 1971) repurposes debris to create props and proposals for perceiving objects in space, asking questions of value and form. He uses discarded and humble materials, such as packing foam, chocolate wrappers, Perspex sheets abandoned in the street and standard-sized paper. These materials he cajoles and seduces into artworks in his studio, using titles as tools to tune his sculptural environments. Each title holds a specific connection to a project by a thinker who made radical proposals for understanding interactions with natural and technological environments.
Tooth House brings together a selection of Kiaer's works made between 2005 and 2014, the most recent created in response to the galleries of the Henry Moore Institute. The exhibition title is taken from the work of the architect and designer Frederick Kiesler (1890-1965), whose exhibition designs and building proposals sought to unify lived experience with structures for organising the world. Kiesler's 1942 landmark exhibition design for Peggy Guggenheim's Art of This Century gallery worked with three-dimensional space as a total environment, creating a continuous space for encountering art. Kiesler's Tooth House was a scheme designed in the late 1940s for a residence integrated into its environment, modelled on a tooth - that part of the body that grows twice and is a constant reminder of our primordial past.
Ian Kiaer: Tooth House explores Kiaer's study of the model in a series of fragile fragments that draw on scale, material and encounter - key terms for the study of sculpture. The model is a structure that enables thought to be materialised and tested. 'Erdrindenbau project: inflatable' (2006) is a breathing plastic ball, standing a head taller than a human and filled with air from a domestic electric fan. Its position is staged by a drawing bearing the word erdrindenbau, a German compound word that roughly translates as a building formed from the earth's crust. 'Offset/black tulip' (2009) is a frame stretching six metres high, only just capable of holding its own weight. 'a.r. nef, vertical' (2013) is a plastic sheet, the kind that might be used to wrap up a sculpture in the studio, on whose surface Kiaer's studio floor has been transposed in silver leaf. 'Tooth House, shadow' (2014) is a bladder of a ball that suggests a building or model in half light. Whether a reference from the history of ideas or repurposed debris, Kiaer's models magnify fragments, lifting them out of their context. His work demands an encounter and refuses to be fixed by the limits of language. Each project is a tentative procedure, executed through a series of connections and encounters.
Ian Kiaer: Tooth House is accompanied by a publication, designed by APFEL, featuring essays by Lisa Le Feuvre (Head of Sculpture Studies, Henry Moore Institute), Fabrice Hergott (Director, Musée d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris) and a roundtable discussion with Ian Kiaer.
Kiaer's exhibition is bracketed by two Gallery 4 exhibition exploring the model, scale and growth. On show until 20 April, Vladimir and Georgii Stenberg: 'Construction for a Spatial Structure VI' ('KPS6', 1919/73) presents a 1973 reconstruction of a lost 1919 sculptural prototype for a building. From 14 May D'Arcy Thompson's On Growth and Form explores the poetic and mathematical study of scale, gravity, order and process of the eponymous 1917 publication.