COLORSCAPES

Luftwerk

COLORSCAPES is an immersive, site-specific exhibition by the acclaimed Chicago art collective Luftwerk (Petra Bachmaier & Sean Gallero). Exploring the perception of the physical world through color, the exhibition features a series of dynamic, experiential outdoor installations and gallery interventions.

Luftwerk

The contemporary understanding of color has a rich and complex history—one deeply connected to the development of color theory in the nineteenth century. One of the most important and foundational publications from that period is Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours, written by the Scottish painter Patrick Syme. First published in 1814 and based on the groundbreaking work of German geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner, the book presented a taxonomic guide to the colors of the natural world and was a precursor to the modern Pantone system. Color—and more specifically the color classified in Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours—serves as the conceptual springboard for a vibrant site-specific takeover at the Cheekwood Estate & Gardens by the Luftwerk. In this unique context, COLORSCAPES explores how the historic, yet fundamental scientific knowledge of color, perception, and nature can inform and connect us to the natural world today.

COLORSCAPES consists of a series of dynamic outdoor installations and gallery interventions. Set along a prescribed path, the exhibition unfolds across Cheekwood’s Bradford Robertson Color Garden, Arboretum Lawn, and Bracken Foundation Children’s Garden before moving up to the portico of the Historic Mansion & Museum and into its more intimately scaled galleries. Inside, Luftwerk has created a series of immersive color and light installations using botanical colors in combination with color changing light conditions that transform into abstracted, atmospheric experiences. Whether using natural pigments, exploring the phenomenon of light and color, or building on the histories explored in the gardens, the works installed in the galleries are informed by a holistic perception of the natural world and an interconnected ecology. Indoors and outside, this site-specific exhibition offers a multi-layered journey that responds to and connects with the different gardens, architecture, and collections of Cheekwood.

About Luftwerk

Luftwerk Portrait

Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero met while studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and soon discovered a shared interest in installations that transform and sculpt spaces using light, color, and texture. Luftwerk studio was founded with an interdisciplinary approach to art where they experiment with a spectrum of materials, textures, and techniques. Asked how they came up with the name Luftwerk, they reply: “We wanted to find a name that reflected how people experience our work.” Luft (air) stands for the ephemeral quality of light. Werk (work, artwork) alludes to the materiality of surfaces, structures, and methods, and defines the framework in which light and sound take shape.

Based in Chicago, a city known for its architectural legacy, the duo charted their path using iconic buildings as their canvas. Their first early commission for Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House led to interventions at sites including Chicago’s Millennium Park, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House and Barcelona Pavilion. Bachmaier and Gallero have created interventions at Chicago’s Jens Jensen designed Garfield Park Conservatory and Kiley Garden in Tampa, FL. Architecture, for them, is not simply a canvas but a collaborative partner. Working both nationally and internationally they have created permanent public artworks at the Marcel Breuer designed Central Library of Atlanta, SOM designed Manulife headquarters in Calgary, 21c Museum Hotel Kansas City, and locations in Chicago. Exhibitions include the Chicago Rooms at the Chicago Cultural Center, the Mattress Factory, Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Elmhurst Art Museum, Volume Gallery, and Cheekwood Estate & Gardens.

Petra Bachmaier, originally from Munich, holds an MA from the University of Fine Arts of Hamburg, Germany. She also holds a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Sean Gallero, originally from the Bronx, NYC, studied art and humanities at Lehman College, with a focus on applied arts and continued studies at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

www.luftwerk.net

Outdoor Installations

Bradford Robertson Color Garden

Luftwerk, with Tres Fromme and Peter Grimaldi
Painter’s Palette, 2022
Various plantings and organic material
Dimensions variable
Commissioned by Cheekwood

Arboretum Lawn

Luftwerk
Color Suite in Topography, 2022
Painted metal and printed polyester flags
10 ft. x 2 ft. 7 in. h. (each); 72 x 30 in. (each flag)
Commissioned by Cheekwood

Bracken Foundation Children’s Garden

Luftwerk
Prairie Blooms, 2022
Painted metal and printed hardboard
4 ft. 5 in. h. (each)
Commissioned by Cheekwood

Portico Entrance, Historic Mansion & Museum

Luftwerk
Sky Blue, 2022
Paint and plastic
Dimensions variable
Commissioned by Cheekwood

Indoor Installations

Long Hall Gallery

Luftwerk
Looking Hall, 2022
Books, minerals, botanic dye samples
in beakers, and pigment and hide glue on board
Dimensions variable
On loan from the Artists

Patrick Syme,
Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours.
Edinburgh: W. Blackwood, 1814.
Closed: 8 x 5 5/16 x ½ in.
On loan from the University of Chicago Libraries

Robert Ridgway,
A Nomenclature of Colors for Naturalists.
Boston: Little, Brown, 1886.
Closed: 8 ½ x 5 11/16 x 13/16 in.
On loan from the University of Chicago Libraries

Stallworth II Gallery

Luftwerk
Continuum, 2022
Prints, electrical motors, and vinyl
7 in. diameter (each)
On loan from the Artists

Stallworth I Gallery

Luftwerk
Light Dips into Dark Falls into Light, 2022
Aluminum, pigment, and LED lighting
Dimensions variable
On loan from the Artists

Short Hallway

Luftwerk
Exact Dutch Yellow, 2022
Neon
4 x 40 in.
On loan from the Artists

John & Margaret Hill Gallery

Luftwerk
Chromatic Blooms, 2022
Stainless steel ½ circle shapes,
Soraa 10 degree LED light bulbs
Dimensions variable
On loan from the Artist

Mary Cheek Hill Gallery

Luftwerk
Meadow, 2022
Canvas, paint, and LED lighting
Dimensions variable
On loan from the Artists

Gordon Gallery

Luftwerk
Portrait No. 2 Mauve to Gamboge, 2021
Fiberglass, aluminum, LED lights, paint
51 x 51 x 18 ¾ in.
On loan from the Artists and Volume Gallery, Chicago

Gordon Gallery

Luftwerk
Portrait No. 1 Yellow to Blue, 2020
Fiberglass, aluminum, LED lights, paint
51 x 51 x 18 ¾ in.
On loan from the Artists and Volume Gallery, Chicago

Luftwerk
Interaction of Light, 2020
Set of 2 prints
Star 3 ply Xuan Paper with Canon image PROGRAF ink
41 ½ x 57 1/4 in.
On loan from the Artists and Volume Gallery, Chicago

Back to Top