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Wolfgang Laib, "Pollen from Hazelnut"

Wolfgang Laib describes the pollen he collected over 27 years "as the beginning of life.". Created by The Museum of Modern Art.

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  • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Dayvyd
    If Laib truly believes that pollen is "the beginning of life", then why is he stealing it from nature?
    (23 votes)
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    • sneak peak green style avatar for user Ryan Nee
      I grew up in a neighborhood in a Colorado forest which looks very similar to where he is collecting pollen at . I think you are all underestimating the ridiculous amount of pollen created by pine trees. Each year, our blacktop driveway would literally turn yellow when the trees released their pollen, and we would have to spend countless hours sweeping it up. This guy is not doing any harm to nature whatsoever by collecting this much pollen.
      (27 votes)
  • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user The Q
    Could this be considered a performance piece?Also, I am reminded of the practice of Tibetan Buddhists who spend weeks or months, sometimes, or always in small groups of four or so, making the most beautiful and elaborate mandalas on the floor out of vibrantly contrasting grains of sand, and then when finished, blow it all away. So as to demonstrate the fleeting impermanence of life.
    (9 votes)
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  • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Dayvyd
    Does he gather the pollen back up and reuse it later?
    (2 votes)
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  • purple pi purple style avatar for user Ksusha Priadikhina
    I like to think that a square symbolically represents earth, air, water and fire, and that is why Laib chose to 'paint' it with pollen. It's like his 'beginning of life' gives life to all four elements of nature. It's also a very solid shape, so there is some meaning of eternity to it.
    (3 votes)
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  • female robot ada style avatar for user Kimberly Hemphill
    Is "Pollen From Hazelnut" still in place at the museum?
    (0 votes)
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Video transcript

(bees buzz) - [Wolfgang] Pollen is the essence of the flowers. It's the potential beginning. It's the male seed for the flowers. (bees buzz) Without pollen, there is no plant. (wind rushes through trees) I collected the first pollen in 1977. Since that time, from early spring until early summer I was always here and collected the pollen just around this small village. (birds chirp) (steps crunch softly) (rustling and soft scraping) I love this work. It's something which I do for hours and hours and days and days. It's a very quiet work, here in this environment which means a lot to me. (soft scraping) Here we have a different jars of pollen. This is the dandelion pollen, which I actually collected this spring, in May. You see it's not much. But it took me about three weeks at least. (soft tapping) (soft metallic tapping) Many people always ask me, "How did you get this idea?" I think it's not an idea which you have on an afternoon or so. I think it's ... If I look back, it's the ... intense experience of studying six years medicine and seeing the hospitals, seeing sick people, experiencing death. Then, of course, this has to do all with life, pollen as the beginning of life, I think. I think it was the answer to all what I had seen before that. This pollen's just the concentration of all this 27 years. The essence of all your experience is coming into an artwork. It is as simple as that, but also as complicated as that. (traffic rushing, honking) (soft splashing) (traffic, honking, and other city noises) When I work, I want to be totally alone and I don't want to have any other influence. That is the sense that I work in Germany outside of a small village, and in India outside of a small village, totally for myself. I always found it a luxury to make my work totally alone, but to show it in the biggest cities of the world. People know me as making something this year like the same thing which I made 30 years ago. Not many others have the courage to do that. For me, that was very important, but that I would collect the same pollen this year like 30 years ago. I find that's a very, very important statement in this world, where everything has to change every second. (soft tapping) Art, in the long run, gives the most to all the people in the world. I feel the pollen piece is much more important than me. (soft, rhythmic metallic tapping) In this space here, I find so incredible that it's the center of the museum and it goes through all the floors. You can see it from the different angles from the different floors down. This concept of a center in such a big building I find something very beautiful and very intense and concentrated. (metallic tapping echoes) It is very rare that you can see a pollen piece from so far above. And that was always very beautiful, this distance, like you are looking down, not into hell but into heaven. (rhythmic tapping continues) It's done.