The Quietly Powerful and Sustainable Works of Christiane Löhr
Christiane Löhr is a German artist who uses lovely, yet curious, natural materials in the creation of her work. Born in 1965 in Wiesbaden, Germany, she now splits her time living in Cologne, Germany, and Prato, Italy. With her work viewable worldwide, including having been shown at the 49th Venice Bienniale, what initially drew her to art was her horse.
After winning a horse at a local stable, with her parent’s permission, she was allowed to keep and take care of the horse. This inspired Löhr to use the materials she quite literally found in her hands, the horsehair, hay, and straw, in her artwork. Löhr continues using such materials, including horsehair, in her artistic practice, turning her artworks into powerful pieces of sustainability and responsible production that reuses the elements around her.
One might suppose that the artist’s objective is to work as an artist who is humbly focused on sustainability and using natural materials. What is fascinating is that Löhr is even more interested in simply using materials that one easily comes across and uses in everyday life. It is the familiarity of the material that she is drawn to.
This has led her to create sculptures and installations from blades of grass, dandelion seeds, plant stalks, and blossoms resulting in a restrained and earthy colour palette, ephemeral structures, and organic shapes. They are unusual works, to be sure, but their delicate structure captures the viewer’s eyes because of their strong construction that satisfies the space around them. In this way, Löhr’s work is quietly powerful.
Major themes that appear in the artist’s work include form, proportion, and space. While the materials she uses in her sculptures and installations are delicate they simultaneously command attention and, in this way, fill the space around them. Tiny cushions made of dandelion fluff and temples of ivy seeds create whole other worlds to explore at ground level or when crouched down.
Some of the works even appear unnerving up close with their repeated organic forms or look like small creatures and insects from far away. Reflecting upon the prominent themes evident in her work Löhr also spends her time developing drawings. While she never traces her materials, she continues to use plants and grass as the subject of her drawings. She uses the space on the paper to create subtle interactions between light and dark, and foreground and background.
Investing her time in understanding what creates harmony in the world, she explores mathematical law as well as the powers and structure behind the natural world. In this way, the artist uses nature as a guideline for knowledge and understanding. In her own way, Löhr reflects upon the importance of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #12: Responsible Consumption and Production. This SDG is about doing more, with less, and in an enhanced manner. Löhr’s artwork promotes a sustainable art practice through using environmentally friendly materials.
Additional works showcasing these materials can be found on her website.