by Reggie Michael Rodrigue
Keith Sonnier is an internationally acclaimed Post Minimalist/Process Art sculptor who has been working with neon and other forms of light producing technologies since the 196o’s. He’s typically associated with the New York City avant garde of the time. However, he’s also a native of Mamou, LA, a little town on the Cajun Prairie that is know for its distinctive old-school take on Mardi Gras in which riders on horseback travel the countryside in homemade costumes to collect and chase chickens for a communal gumbo pot. Along the way, they traditionally drink and perform acts of light mischief as well.
This spring/summer, Sonnier is a long way from either New York City or Mamou, however. He has installed work inside the BMW Museum in Munich, Germany for an exhibition titled Lichtblicke I or, in English, “Bright Spots.” Within the exhibition, Sonnier continues to explore the intersection between drawing, sculpture, light and his own formal process. With the glut of facile, neon sculpture coming from less skilled hands that has taken hold of the art market of late, it’s really great to see that Sonnier, a real master of the oeuvre, is still on top of his game.
The BMW Museum has decided that the theme of 2012 is focused on light, which is why the museum invited Sonnier to exhibit in the first place. Their website states ” Light is more than just brightness: It is a symbol of human knowledge and progress.” It’s not exactly the deepest thought ever or even the most original, but if the museum is embracing and showcasing the work of Sonnier, Louisianaesthetic applauds the museum’s efforts! It’s time to get reacquainted with the work of this seminal artist.
Within Munich, one can also view more of Sonnier’s work. He has deployed two permanent, site-specific works over the years: Lightway at the Munich Airport and Passage Rot-Blau (Red-Blue) at St. Jakobs-Platz.
Lichtblicke I is on view until July 25, 2012 in collaboration with the gallery Hausler Contemporary.
To visit the BMW Museum website, follow the link here.
To see more of Keith Sonnier’s work, follow the link to his website here.