Wolfgang Laib was born in 1950 in Metzingen, Germany. Inspired by the teachings of the ancient Taoist philosopher Laozi, by the modern artist Brancusi, and the legacy of formative life experiences with his family in Germany and India, Laib creates sculptures that seem to connect that past and present, the ephemeral and the eternal. Working with perishable organic materials (pollen, milk, wood, and rice) as well as durable ones that include granite, marble, and brass, he grounds his work by his choice of forms—squares, ziggurats, and ships, among others.
His painstaking collection of pollen from the wildflowers and bushes that grow in the fields near his home is integral to the process of creating work in which pollen is his medium. This he has done each year over the course of three decades. Laib’s attention to human scale, duration of time, and his choice of materials give his work the power to transport us to expected realms of memory, sensory pleasure, and contemplation.
Wolfgang Laib studied medicine at the University of Tübingen (1974). Major exhibitions of his work have appeared at the Phillips Collection (2013); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013); Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2010); Museo Nacional de Arte, La Paz (2010); Fondazione Merz (2009); Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City (2009); Nelson-Atkins Museum (2009); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (2007); Kunstmuseum Bonn (2005); Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (2005); Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome (2005); Guangdong Museum of Art (2004); National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (2003); National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul (2003); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2002); Henry Art Gallery (2001); Dallas Museum of Art (2001); Hirshhorn Museum (2000); Kunsthaus Bregenz (1999); , and the Venice Biennale (1999, 1997, 1982), among many others. Wolfgang Laib lives and works in Hochdorf, Germany and Tamil Nadu, India.