Knopp Ferro: Levitating Lines
April 30 – June 18, 2022
Louis Stern Fine Arts is pleased to announce participation in an international exhibition series, to run between 2022 – 2024, celebrating the work of Austrian sculptor Knopp Ferro (b. 1953). In honor of the artist’s 70th birthday, numerous galleries across the United States, Latin America, and Europe with whom Ferro has exhibited throughout his decades-long career will stage a cycle of solo exhibitions exploring the depth and diversity of his artistic practice. Knopp Ferro: Levitating Lines combines recent and older metal kinetic sculpture by Ferro and is the first US-based exhibition in the two-year-long series.
Born in Cologne, Germany and currently based in Munich, Ferro began his artistic career during the highly experimental Fluxus period in the 1970s. After studying metal sculpture and performance at the University of Applied Sciences for Art and Design in Cologne, Ferro spent half of the 70s and most of the 80s working and touring throughout Europe, first as a member of the artist collective Jet Ferro and as a clown in the Roncalli Circus, and later with the Zürich- based performance group Bumper to Bumper. This foundational interest in movement, play, and the transformation of space and experience, together with his knowledge of metalworking, form the basis of Ferro’s signature kinetic sculpture practice.
Composed of delicate arrays of metal rods that are fused, bundled, and strung together in cloudlike formations, these constructions play with the viewer’s preconceived expectations of the nature and behavior of materials. Elements of sturdy stainless steel and iron, the familiar backbones of architecture and industry, become breathy and insubstantial within these meticulously balanced arrangements as they shift and take flight at the slightest provocation. The spaces around the sculptures become activated and transformed in their proximity, dancing with swarms of needle-like shadows. This experience is replicated in miniature in Ferro’s wall-mounted acrylic enclosures, housing diminutive versions of the sculptures staged within hot neon and warm golden shadow boxes.
Ferro’s innovative use of surface and color is on full display in his newer work. Hanging dendritic boughs of iron rods are softened with gold leaf, suggesting a suppleness and malleability in these rigid formations. Selective applications of vivid pigment enliven the lines of the sculptures, urging the eye to trace their zippy slashes and sinuous curves. Giving the impression of a drawing dashed in air and breathed into solid life in three dimensions, these dynamic and elusive sculptures conjure curiosity, wonder, and intrigue.
Knopp Ferro has performed worldwide and exhibited internationally at galleries in Paris, Madrid, London, Amsterdam, Zürich, Cologne, and São Paulo, amongst many others. His work is included in numerous public collections, including the Museum of Concrete Art, Ingolstadt, Germany; Kleine Museum, Weissenstadt, Germany; Artothek, Cologne, Germany; and MACBA Museum Art Center, Buenos Aires, Argentina.