This is the tool: Like a volcano that spews lava.
The magma is the material of this century.
The artificial material. The material that becomes art.
I shape and regulate the mass and organize its arbitrary form until the plastic cools and becomes rigid.
Every item is unique. Its structure is organic.
Floral light sculptures.
It makes the sculpture transparent and illuminates it from within, exposing its essence.
It reminds me
Reminds me of charmeuse, fellatio, silk lingerie
It obscenely arouses my lust
Its folds are enticing
Like the tip of a flower’s calyx
Metamorphosis inside out dildo for extraterrestrials
Pressed stretched pulled and crinkled
It looks like a tortured raspberry cream puff
But let me tell you
It is light
Marlies von Soden has worked on costume and set design for film and theater for more than thirty years. Costumes and sets create a spatial impression like a relief. Reduced to its essence, it is folds of fabric. Existing for just one moment, it is fleeting in the next. Marlies von Soden transferred this immanent fascination to the medium of polypropylene: The hardening of ephemerality caused by external influences, holding on to the sensuousness of fleeting moments. The opposition of a rigid material versus vulnerability and nakedness is reinforced by the choice of color. What emerges are organic, almost baroque morphologies that appear to have been born of an internal heat source. The medium seems melted, folded into itself. Tubelike shapes are reminiscent of monstrous calyxes or giant shells marked with curves and waves.
Text: Heiko Schier (translation: Allison Brown)
Speech at the opening of the exhibition of works by Marlies von Soden and Roland Hohlbaum, Galerie Tammen, Berlin, June 13, 2014 (excerpt)
The sculptures and light objects by Marlies von Soden have a unique visual appeal. They fascinate us with their surging, yet nevertheless graceful, vibrant forms that look as if a robe à la française had been plastinated. They bring to mind rococo robes and stiffened silk. Perhaps also wax.
However, the material with which Marlies von Soden brings this courtly- and exotic-looking collection to life is a plastic polymer: polypropylene. And yet it does not seem like plastic. The impression it gives is airy and delicate. The artist uses a machine called an extruder to produce it: sometimes thicker, sometimes thinner, with more or sometimes less color, and sometimes just the cut edge is dyed. She has repeatedly had to change manufacturers, since of course the extruders are not made for art, but for industry.
It is a stroke of luck that we have the pleasure of viewing her works in this gallery. On their luminous pedestals they open up sculptural possibilities that create enchantingly weightless sensations by generating light and shadow: in milky white, salmon colors, reddish tones, in a long wavy line of femininity. The draping and folding creates overlays and allows shadows to emerge.
The large lemon-colored photographs at the front wall of the left gallery room illustrate how enchanting the feathery lightness of the objects can be. As unachievable ideals of delicateness they lyrically bore themselves horizontally or vertically into the tangible reality.
Marlies von Soden worked as a costume designer for theater and film. She has worked artistically with neoprene, Tyvek® (polyethylene fleece) and phenolic foam. The materials used by this artist take on forms that are open for any and every content. This aspect of freedom preserves the playfulness of the light objects. The light objects can be found in the widest range of contemporary collections, such as in that of Madame Olivetti or in the Watermill Center, Robert Wilson’s design museum on eastern Long Island.
With an eye for translucency, one can understand that precisely this apparently random, arbitrary twisted shape is a rich, perfected form that can be placed in diverse life contexts as an attractive lighting fixture.
In terms of sensuality, the textile materiality of plastic cannot be outdone … .
© 2014 Christoph Tannert, all rights reserved by the author
Translated by Allison Brown