Selected press coverage
For her first major presentation, Basel-based artist
Laura Mietrup (b.1987, Rheinfelden, CH) realizes a
condensed trail through the annex of the Kunsthaus
Baselland. A painting that takes up the entire wall
combines sculpture and architecture in a way that is
both haunting and idiosyncratic. Spatial structures
reminiscent of machines, furniture, or even fragments
combine with the narrative of the high-contrast wall
painting with an emphasis on dark tones. Always striving for a holistic spatial experience, Mietrup allows
visitors to fully immerse themselves in her work Traverse.
‘Solo Position’ is a biennial competition format aimed at artists living and working in the Basel region, which grants artists their first institutional solo exhibition. The seventh public call for entries was announced in the spring of 2021. The jury members were the art commission of the Canton of Basel-Landschaft and the director of the Kunsthaus Baselland.
It is likely that she is often asked about her starting point. And certainly about how she develops a formal language that is able to take up walls, floors, papers, or objects so naturally and assertively. But things are not that simple when it comes to Laura Mietrup. In a very short time, Mietrup has developed an astonishing inventory of formal vocabulary that evokes architectural fragments, machines, furniture, complex systems, or even just parts of them; nevertheless, it is devoid of anything that may seem known or familiar to us. In fact, what we see being developed and affirmed, mostly out of and in front of dark tonal values, remains both distinct and mysterious. The use of color is restrained, yet made strong and luminous by the chosen contrasts.
In recent years, starting with her award-winning graduation work in 2017, Mietrup focused primarily on objects in space. For her first major display at Kunsthaus Baselland, we can see a shift towards a new, striking combination of space, mural painting, and sculpture. While Mietrup’s incredible craftsmanship and precision in the objects she creates have always been fascinating, this know-how and precise engagement with the subject at hand can now also be seen in her approach to wall drawings and, in particular, to the architectural space assigned to her.
Like a massive silhouette, the mural is laid as a second skin over the interior walls of the 35-meter-long Kunsthaus Baselland annex. Still, the work Mietrup has developed especially for this location does not appear flat in the slightest. Rather, as a visitor, one feels embedded in an urban, architectural itinerary, which offers insights into and perspectives on what is painted, embodied, or real. It is quite evident that Mietrup also employs objects in combination with this astonishing display of color and form, which is interwoven with the existing architecture to form a coherent whole. It is precisely in this way that their surroundings are condensed into an immediate counterpart and become a reference for their own scale.
As you walk across the rooms, pausing, observing, and connecting, the exhibition title reverberates in your mind—Traverse. Is this a balancing act, similar to the one performed when walking along a crossbeam? Perhaps. But it is more likely to be a delicate pendulum movement between familiarities and re-discoveries, between us and what surrounds and shapes us. A traverse that connects different times and spaces—yesterday, today and tomorrow. (IG)
Laura Mietrup was born in 1987 in Rheinfelden, Switzerland. She lives and works in Basel. She is the winner of the Solo Position 2021 competition program, which was organized for the seventh time by kulturelles.bl as a support program for local artists. Her previous exhibitions include Auswahl 20, Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, 2020; One Hundred and One Works, Galerie Tony Wüthrich, Basel, 2020; Step Out! Aufbruch in den Raum, Kunsthaus Baselland, 2019; Der Totentanz, a project by Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger, Basel, 2016.
Many thanks to Robin Michel, Chris Handberg, Mattania Bösiger, Simon Wyss as well as Andreas Jenni for their valuable support.