Ian Kiaer

b. 1971, London, UK. Lives and works in London and Oxford


Ian Kiaer
Ian Kiaer, Grey Cloth Project: Scheerbart/Bed, 2005


Ian Kiaer makes delicate installations involving subtly modified found objects and two-dimensional surfaces in various materials. This precisely arranged detritus and groupings of small hand-made models suggest landscapes or interiors. Kiaer’s approach relates to painting in a post-medium sense, teasing out the historical reverberations of its language. His spatial compositions act as placeholders in which to explore ideas.

Kiaer draws from utopian thinkers, designers and artists who resisted dominant ideologies of the day. The Grey Cloth Project (consisting of multiple artworks) for example, explores the theories of German architect Bruno Taut (1880 –1938) on the socially transformative nature of glass. It also reflects on the slogans of his contemporary, poet and artist Paul Scheerbart (1863–1915), such as ‘coloured glass destroys hate’ and ‘without a glass palace life is a burden’. The installation Grey Cloth Project: Scheerbart/Bed (2005) is an imagining of Scheerbart’s bed bathed in coloured light as he succumbed to illness.

Even though Kiaer’s pieces emerge from historical research, any narrative is suggested rather than prescribed. Viewers are invited to draw tentative connections between constituent parts, which are often unified through colour, tone and atmosphere. In encountering Kiaer’s work one becomes part of a meditation on ephemerality, translucency and opacity, and on the legacies of past figures who imagined, and potentially shaped, a different world.