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THE INTERNATIONAL ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE PROGRAM
NEW WORKS 96.1
Leni Hoffmann - NÜRNBERG, GERMANY
May Sun - VENICE, CALIFORNIA
Elizabeth McGrath SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS
The International Artist-in-Residence Program sponsored by ArtPace, A Foundation
for Contemporary Art | San Antonio presents the fifth in a series of New Works projects
realized by artists living and working at [ArtPace]. Leni Hoffmann, May Sun, and
Elizabeth McGrath were selected to participate in the program by a renowned panel of
arts professionals brought together by The Foundation in October of 1994. Members of
the panel were: Mary Beebe, Director of the Stuart Collection, The University of
California, San Diego; Benito Huerta, Artist, Houston, Texas; Anthony Jones, Rector and
Vice Provost, Royal College of Art, London; Richard Koshalek, Director, Museum of
Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Lowery Sims, Curator 20th Century Art, New York;
and Dianne Vanderlip, Curator of 20th Century Art, Denver.
Leni Hoffmann, who lives and works in Nürnberg Germany, has shown her work
throughout Europe and Australia. This is her first installation in the United States. She
made her first visit to San Antonio a year ago during a tour of this country made possible
by an artist's grant from the German government. After a brief stay at [ArtPace], the
artist laid plans for her installation. She ordered plasticine in blue, lime green and red,
colors meant to respond not only to the interior of the space, but also to the exterior
building and its position in downtown San Antonio.
Hoffmann makes art by reinventing the architecture of a gallery, library or other
environment as part of her finished work. A similar installation by the artist, recently
presented in Gallery 14 at the Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane Australia, was
described by Timothy Morrell, the exhibition's curator, in the accompanying catalogue:
This installation is... an absolute part of the existing architecture. Although plasticine
is applied to surfaces, no object has been added. Individual elements of the design...are
duplicated in a veneer of plasticine. The monochrome interior is re-projected back onto
itself in bright color...restating but subverting the original architectural logic.
The installed work is a highly tactile three-dimensional arrangement of surface
treatments which surrounds the viewer.
The artist creates the tactile surface of which Morrell speaks by warming the
plasticine and applying it to the wall, using her fingers to create a pattern akin to
brushstrokes found in heavy impasto painting. This field of fingermarks evokes universal
memories of child's play as well as the very specific touch of the artist. Morrell's
description of her work in Australia is consistent with Hoffmann's installation at
[ArtPace]. Hoffmann defines the allotted exhibition space not as container for the work,
but as the work itself.
This particular installation "cannot exist any place but here," says the artist who
plans to remain in San Antonio until April 7 to "destroy" her work (remove the materials
from the room) leaving behind what she considers to be its more important essence, the
active memory of the piece created in the minds of those who have come to see the work.
"My art is not unchangeable and precious, but a continuous dialogue between something
created for the space and the human beings who see it," says Hoffmann.
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