Keith Sonnier

Catching the Light: Sending and Receiving – Early Sculptures and Videos 

April 6th – October 20th 2019 , Kunstmuseum

Keith Sonnier’s work radically changed the idea of ​​what sculpture is or could be. Born in 1941 in Mamou, Louisiana, he went to New York after graduating from Rutgers University in 1966. Along with Eva Hesse, Mary Heilmann, Barry Le Va, Bruce Nauman, Richard Serra, Joel Shapiro, Richard Tuttle, and Jackie Winsor, he was one of the pioneers of the “New Sculpture,” which established a process-based art with industrial and ephemeral materials. 

In his work, Sonnier depicts processes of perception that remain close to human beings and their scale. Meshes and transparent materials, which he uses to catch light, and the use of neon and fluorescent light play a crucial role in his works. His film and video works are among the pioneering explorations of this new medium. Sonnier was internationally recognized early on, traveled often, and worked on projects for extended periods of time on site, absorbing the conceptual and formal elements of the people he visited and the cultures he saw.

In 1994, the Kunstmuseum St. Gallen realized a first comprehensive exhibition by Keith Sonnier. The current presentation focuses on his film and video works from between 1968 and 1977 and embeds them in a retrospective field of exemplary sculptures and large-scale installations.

Curator: Roland Wäspe

the artist

Keith Sonnier (1941 - 2020)

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