1QM Land

Claudia Märzendorfer Ein Quadratmeter Land, 2017 [One Square Meter of Land]

In her works, the Austrian artist Claudia Märzendorfer deals with processes and transformations as well as the subject of transience. A trained sculptor, she uses various media and materials (such as ice, ink, steel, sound, and photography) and techniques (such as knitting a car) that are often elaborate (and time-consuming) in their production. She integrates the subject of time as a basic element and theme into her works. Märzendorfer has gained renown for her objects made of frozen water. Water also plays a crucial, if not immediately obvious, role in her work Ein Quadratmeter Land [One Square Meter of Land], which has been specially commissioned for the exhibition Visions of Nature, as water constitutes the most important (inorganic) component of the various meadow grasses that the artist photographed. For this project, Märzendorfer walked across an alpine pasture and with rigorous oversight took exactly framed pictures of one square meter. She thus parcels pieces of land with almost scientific care and transfers true-to-scale representations of them into the exhibition space for us to examine. This approach reminds one of Karl Bloßfeldt, who—himself a trained sculptor—attempted to capture “primordial forms of nature” in the plant kingdom. In contrast to the dead plants in Bloßfeldt’s studio, Märzendorfer’s meadow pieces are brimming with life and energy. The artist deliberately opted for a season in which the grasses grow in all their glory. An enormous diversity of colors and forms is represented on these small patches of the planet’s surface (the entire area of which is 149,430,000,000 sqm). The fascination triggered by these images is surprising—after all, what is represented here is “merely” a few ordinary patches of grassland. However, they contain so much awe-inspiring complexity that our image of nature is elevated to sublimity. Visitors may also take home one square meter of land, with coordinates between 38° and 40° north and 27° and 29° east, by tearing it from a 5,000-piece poster block on the floor—a piece of nature as a souvenir. Grass types pictured in the photographs: Timothy-grass (Phleum pratense) Tall oat grass (Arrhenatherum elatius) Cock’s-foot grass (Dactylis glomerata) Smooth meadow-grass (Poa pratensis) Red fescue (Festuca rubra) Jointleaf rush (Juncus articulatus)

Verena Kaspar (Curator)