This spring the Langen Foundation is presenting the most extensive exhibition by Pae White (b. 1963, lives in Los Angeles) to ever be shown in Europe. The exhibition focus lies on the artist’s large-format tapestries and mobiles – including a new “mirror mobile” specially made for this show – as well as on couch sculptures. Also included are the exhibition poster and advertisements, which Pae White designed herself.
Pae White harnesses the synergies between visual arts, applied arts, design, and architecture. Her oeuvre is distinguished by its hybrid character: surface and space, graphic and object, everyday item and artwork all enter into states of surprising symbiosis in her works. Accordingly, the artwork created by this American artist is polymorphic, ranging from posters and exhibition catalogues to sculptures and space-encompassing installations.
In absence of any thought of hierarchy, Pae White drafts adverts, designs exhibition catalogues, crafts large mobiles made of painted and glued swathes of paper, makes furniture sculptures, or has giant tapestries woven. The unique aesthetic allure of her playfully light work arises through subtle shifts in medium, material, and motif. Her wall tapestries, for instance, display crinkled aluminium foil or billows of smoke, while her couches resemble rumpled sheets of newspaper.
Although the hybrid character of Pae White’s work is readily apparent, she emphasizes that she is not concerned with the blurring of boundaries but instead – in a positive sense – with the hidden possibilities inherent to things: “I like the idea that everything in the world has the potential to be reintroduced as an artwork – even if only as a motif.”
Vital to the artist is the relation her works have to the surrounding space – for instance when she stages her mobiles as flickering clusters. Pae White tailored her presentation to the high Langen Foundation exhibition rooms, enabling the tapestries to be installed as space-consuming objects rather than lying flush with the wall.
Pae White was born in 1963 in Pasadena, California. She graduated from Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, Maine, in 1990, and from MFA Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, in 1991, where she studied under Stephen Prina, Mike Kelley, and Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe.