"What is the Color of Scent?" Review on JiveFlash

Katja at C24

By Jake Goldbas

Katja Loher has a new exhibition, What is the color of Scent? at the C24 Gallery in Chelsea, going on from September 6th to October 27th, 2018. Like the transcendent synesthesia implied in the exhibition’s title, Loher has ambitions for her viewer to take new insights and perspectives based on the ecological crisis. The viewer of the works will walk away empowered and inspired.

In the days that followed seeing the new Katja Loher show I had a dream. In the dream a friend and I had a cart with a hose and we dutifully sprayed a weird green algae everywhere. When I asked my friend what it was, he explained he wanted to protect everything and he wanted everything to grow. I realize now the metaphor from the algae is love, one of the elements in Loher’s exhibition. I had dreamed the symbol in my memory from working on an organic farm for a few months in 2015, where we used a similar contraption to spray fish emulsifier. Farming takes engineering, botany, and designs, but after that it’s faith and love. Love has to do with letting go of control, and so very often there are odd tics and charms about one’s beloved, stuff that seems abnormal or off-putting to an outsider. In my dream it was that neon green algae.

Like that green algae, conceptual art famously challenges its viewers to see the deliberations and intentions of its pieces. So, Marcel Duchamp’s works re-contextualize everyday objects, such as a snow shovel, in order to interrogate the viewer’s perceptions of art. French Marxist movement the Situationist International used Conceptual Art as a way to thwart capitalist programming, which has present-day lineage with graffiti artwork by Banksy. Katja Loher’s works have intense deliberations and decision-processes, and are always intricate and beautiful. The concepts (re-contextualizing) are how the audience will take these messages in their own lives – about ecology and wonder at the world. In line with this, the conflict is about covenant and inspiration. Katja Loher has extreme connotations of large scale agreements with engineering collaborators who have to manifest the schematics and the ideals; and to her audience who must work to understand the significance of her works in their own lives; and to Nature itself needing care and consideration.

Take for example Katja Loher’s “Earth” area from this exhibit. Here, Loher has built LCD screens, with choreographed dancing in them, within glass bubbles that look like pollen. Katja Loher is going for big game here, and the reason she formed her works in the shape of pollen is symbolic of the destruction of the habitats for flowers and bumble bees. Ambient music plays out of the sculptures.

In the exhibition’s entrance dedicated to love, Loher made “nests,” of twigs and straws to look like bird’s nests, and the artist made glass shapes with light displays in the middle. The results are uncanny, such that they look like authentic cyborgs one might find in nature. In these nests, Katja Loher makes the decision of calling love one of the fundamental elements – the others in the gallery include fire, earth, and water. The work in this section reminds one of Bruce Conner’s “May the heart of the Tin Man always be with you,” which itself is a mixed-media work. Conner’s work also had an eerie feeling, with the basic point that the United States is good at making robots and technology, but what is missing is the heart, which is the patience and dedication.

Loher’s works take time, skill, and patience. They also take a dreamer with a lockstep iron vision to put them together. Any given piece at this exhibition took choreography of dancers; assembly and fabrication of the screens, installations, and mounts; glassblowing of intricate and boundary-pushing designs; ambient music; and colored lights. These feats come after an artistic vision. This concept-before-materialization can be likened to the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. The great philosopher’s insight was a person’s reality has conceptual filters on it. Nevertheless, the most empowering and inspirational idea in Kant is one might be able to make her own concepts and then create these works of imagination in physical life.

Saint Augustine, in On Free Choice of the Will, said if you do not believe, you will not understand. Perhaps an analogy can be made to improv comedy. The egregious error in improv is to shut down the scene, because awkward silences can be milked for laughs, or dead ends can be used as premises for a later joke. In addition to her work fabricating the mixed media sculptures, Katja Loher’s vision makes her a truly powerful artist of courage and strength. This artist physically works to see firsthand the devastation of land from pollution and climate change. This makes the art works political, and turns the symbols of the works into hypnotizing charms and mantras. In a way, just like her Earth section, Katja Loher seeks to turn her viewers into bumble bees, with her artwork as conceptual pollen, and the final outcome of honey -- as awareness and true change of behaviors. Loher’s works are a benediction, and a kiss on the viewer. Like the best teachers, she knows any fear or violence isn’t going to motivate anyone toward meaningful change. The bizarre truth of 2018 is how little knowledge of the current perspectives connect, and art can help bridge the space between knowledge and action with unique inspiration. Walking around in blistering heat in the winter, hearing about hurricanes and forest fires – these are harrowing catastrophes. What these disasters require is new, day-to-day commitments for substantive change. Katja Loher delivers. After experiencing her works, it’s up to the audience to take meaningful actions.

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Source: https://jiveflash.com/blog/9/21/2018/katja...

Katja Loher's glass video sculptures highlighted in recap of the Seattle Art Fair

A nerd’s tour of the Seattle Art Fair: Fighting robots, animated neurons, and flying art debris

By Frank Catalano

You might be forgiven if you thought the fourth annual Seattle Art Fair would have a lot of expensive, big-name art. Yes, there is sculpture by Pablo Picasso, lithographs by Joan Miró, silkscreens by Jacob Lawrence and even an original Norman Rockwell.

But you’d be mistaken to assume that any event founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen would not have glimpses of geeky goodness throughout.

The 2018 Seattle Art Fair, which opened Thursday and runs through Sunday at CenturyLink Field Event Center, tucks all kinds of technological and science-fictional nods into the artworks from more than 100 galleries in ten countries. And you don’t have to be a collector of contemporary or modern art to appreciate them, either.

Consider this your quick visual tour of Seattle Art Fair, from a nerd’s perspective.

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Yes, that’s a neuron on the wall. Swiss artist Katja Loher, who lives in Brooklyn, represented a blue neuron in white acrylic with an embedded video screen and hand-blown glass sculpture for How does the rumor of the sky smell when the blue of water sings?.

The more than seven minutes of multi-channel looping video that runs inside the art is even more colorful in a companion work, Who will paint the white canvas of the bleached corals?.

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Collaborative art installation by Katja Loher and other artists of the Swiss-Indian Art Collective unveiled at Swiss Embassy in Delhi

Delhiites celebrate Swiss-Indian bond with aplomb at India Art Fair 2018

By Divya Kaushik

A girl covered in white balloons sat near the entrance of the Swiss Embassy. As the ambassador of Switzerland, Andreas Baum, greeted the guests, the first thing they noticed was her and many thought it was a mannequin until she started moving to the music playing in the background. The girl was a part of an installation created by Swiss artist Katja Loher and just like her, there were two other dancers who were part of Loher's artwork. Lower, along with two other artists, Satish Gupta and Sumakshi Singh, created an experimental art piece-- a combination of video and still-- as part of the Swiss-Indian Art Collective. The art installations were unveiled to guests at the party hosted by Baum at the embassy. 

 

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Katja Loher's VUELA VUELA featured in El Diario NY

KATJA LOHER AND THE HARMONY OF THE SPHERES

BY: JOAQUIN BADAJO

Katja Loher on the Harmony of the Stratospheres

These videosculptures and projections by the multimedia artist create a virtual jungle where art, technology and spirituality merge to create a new terrestrial ground.

The visitor arrives to a banquette of light, but for those who cannot attend, we can imagine the opulent magic. The fabulous universe which Katja Loher (Zurich, 1979) envisioned with a performance at the Opening Reception of VUELA VUELA, her multimedia exhibition at C24 Gallery in Chelsea. She has returned to her hand blown glass bubbles, which entrap once again with kinetic movements of miniature beings inside ultra modern acrylic cells.

The surrealist creatures by the artist return to those portal universes, which are reminiscent of small planets. Katja Loher does not conform to create just paintings, but produces art containing universes. In these worlds she is a demiurge designing chaos while dictating order and rhythm. Part of the experience for those who visit this exhibition, it can be said with complete certainty that it is spectacular with the experience submersing the viewer leaving one hypnotized.             

Each piece by the artist is a super production including experimental audiovisual, costume design and choreography. Even the concept and production of artifacts containing the videos could be a tree salvaged from a storm or a semi-hemispheric screen. The meticulous filming created in a special green screen studio replaces the background in post production editing the images with a flip of the script. 

Reflecting back on some of her artworks, the aesthetic remains impregnated in the brain between vintage and folk art. Loher is an heiress to the rhythmic ballet of the triadic dance of Oskar Schlemmer. Oompa Loompas trapped in a bottle remind one of Life in the Undergrowth by Sir David Attenborough or a show from the 1960’s of psychadelic lights. Dancers mimic the elasticity and rythm of cimatic impact. All the elements mix in perfect proportions to achieve a dramatic minimalistic effect.  

Just as Shigeko Kubota, Loher is much more interested in merging technology inside the sculpture so that it disappears. By calling them videosculptures she opposes many others who only achieve multimedia installations. Loher goes further than Kubota by pushing the limits of traditional formats and unmasking technology to reveal the impossible make it natural. When confronted with the inherit constricted essence of technology, Loher elects a sphere, bends the space and produces portals that are three dimensional, spherical or semi-spherical. She innovates and obliges the video to liberate itself from a formal obstacle. She accomplishes all this without abandoning a masterful level or exceptional lyric.

While Loher strips technology of the flat screen (a two-dimensional format) her videos leave the artist’s hand present. This is evident in the insects, birds and creatures which scan the camera with their human profile, creating a transfer of roles to an empathetic observer. Her aesthetic also emphasizes a time when one perceived of a world of mystical fantasy.  

In the kaleidoscopic universe of Katja Loher, life exists through the rambunctious multidimensional eye of a fly. We draw closer into peepholes or videoportals to other worlds only to discover that voyeurism is in reverse. We are the creatures trapped in our own existential bubbles spied by millions of creatures that create a mosaic effect of fragmented universes.

VUELA VUELA is a vital celebration into the window of nature’s four elements and also a call of cosmic healing. The most surprising construct of her artwork is that while other artists with ecological preoccupations are inclined to exaggerate to the side of apocolyptic, barrenness, mutulation or dissolute, Loher produces new spieces that balance the systemic extinction. Cast into space are extravagant diminuative armies of bees and birds that gaurentee the balance of the ecosystem. Loher confronts this with the beauty of fantastic alternative universes.

Simultaneously with the exhibition at C24 Gallery, Katja Loher inaugurated an installation at the new SLS Brickel Hotel in Miami, Florida. This video installation When Will the Sea Swallow the Land? is based on the imminent effects of global warming on sea levels and the prognostic that costal cities like Miami and New York are condemned to disappear. The piece is placed at the main entrance of the building and encompasses six video-islands as portals to mini universes that Katja Loher invites us to explore.

VUELA VUELA, Katja Loher will exhibit until December 23rd at C24 Gallery,

560 West 24th Street, New York, NY 10011