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Aspen Art Museum


Ian Kiaer: Melnikov Project

Feb 17, 2012-Apr 22, 2012

Ian Kiaer’s work takes the form of carefully composed landscapes of found objects and materials, architectural models, and paintings. For Kiaer, these installations are ways of exploring paradigms and testing concepts. What exactly constitutes the category of “painting” today? How do we understand the relationship between sculptural fragment and architectural model? Far from didactic, Kiaer’s tableaux create subtly evocative relationships between different elements, allowing us to construct our own narratives from these fragments. The often spare, provisional nature of his objects compels a close viewing and offers simultaneous insight into our own perceptions. Shifts in scale and perspective highlight the relationship between the works and the space of the gallery.

Kiaer often begins his projects with extensive research into visionary thinkers and practitioners who went against the grain of their time, but have ultimately influenced current models of seeing and aesthetic contemplation. Kiaer’s exhibition at the Aspen Art Museum, his first one-person presentation in the United States, was born out of his research into the Soviet architect Konstantin Melnikov. During the 1920s, Melnikov was at the forefront of the Soviet avant-garde, but he refused to conform to the “rules” of Stalinist architecture and eventually turned to painting traditional portraits in his cylindrical house studio. Kiaer’s Melnikov Project creates an allusive arrangement of forms, a poetic invocation of a moment when artists and architects believed themselves capable of transforming the world.

This exhibition was organized by the AAM and funded in part by the AAM National Council. Publication support was provided by Mary and Harold Zlot. Exhibition lectures were presented as part of the Questrom Lecture Series and educational outreach programming was made possible by the Questrom Education Fund.