«Wax—Tablets and Blocks»

January 20, 2014 to February 23, 2014

An Exhibition in the Material Archive
Wax is a plastic material—malleable and pliable. This also applies in a figurative sense to its definition. "Wax" is a collective technological term that stands for a wide range of different sources and compositions. The term was originally reserved solely for beeswax, and it was first with the discovery of plant and mineral waxes that materials that are similar in character to beeswax but have other origins also came to be called waxes.

In the sphere of art production, wax is present in diverse forms and functions. For example, in the production of cast metal sculptures, wax serves as an important auxiliary substance (lost wax process), is used as a sculptural material for designs and objects or protects and finishes the most varied surfaces of objects as a thin coating. This reference to wax’s material applications served as the basis for the launch of the project “Werkstoff Wachs” (Wax as Material) in the Sitterwerk in 2013, a project that consists of the expansion of the database and collections of the Material Archive. Starting in January 2014, candelilla-, wool-, montan-, micro-, polyethylene-, Japan-, and others waxes supplement the collections in the form of material samples and data sets. Within this context, the new group of materials will also be presented within the framework of an exhibition. With tablets and blocks, reference is also made to the forms in which wax raw materials are delivered but also to their use as a writing surface. Until well into the fifteenth century, wax writing tablets and wax tablet books were important information media. They are once again utilized as such in the exhibition and establish a reference to the Art Library, to material applications and to contents that are present in the sphere of art production.

Two events took place as an accompanying program. The art historian Dr. Jessica Ullrich from the Kunstpalais Erlangen was a guest speaker. With her dissertation “Wächserne Körper — Zeitgenössische Wachsplastik im kulturhistorischen Kontext” (Waxy Bodies: Contemporary Wax Sculpture within a Cultural-Historical Context), she has published the first in-depth study on wax artistry in the twentieth century. In it, she presents works by more than forty contemporary artists and with them also themes such as anatomy, death, religion, likeness and identity, which are closely associated with the material wax.

A tour of the neighboring Kunstgiesserei and the parts of the foundation Sitterwerk offered insights into concrete ways of applying and processing wax.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 17.30 p.m.: Public Tour trough the exhibition and the Sitterwerk.
Thursday, February 20, 2014, 18.30 p.m.: Dr. Jessica Ullrich, public lecture
The Project is supported by:
Dr. Fred Styger Stiftung
Ortsgemeinde Straubenzell

Further venues:
Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, October 16, 2014 to November 7, 2014
Gewerbemuseum Winterthur, May 18 to July 6, 2014