Commonwealth and Council


Alice Könitz


Commonwealth and Council presents Alice Könitz: Commonwealth, an exhibition of site-specific, social sculptures in pursuit of our common well-being.

The term ‘commonwealth’ has many meanings and perhaps calls to mind most readily the British Empire and its colonial history under monarchic rule. The literal meaning of the term is that of public welfare. Könitz takes our independent space’s namesake as a title for a group of sculptures that are loosely organized around the idea of public organization or state. Her ongoing experiment with social architecture playfully imagines a rudimentary society that includes basic elements: a directorial office in the form of an information kiosk, a food dispensary, a lounge, and an outlook post.

Observing that our gallery is akin to a communal space supported by a community of artists, Alice Könitz’s interactive environment promotes utility and engagement.

In dialogue with functionality and designation, geometric shapes in the main gallery come together to form a three-sided modular unit with anthropomorphic façade, reconsidering the interface of an information desk. A spatial construction of bamboo, copper fittings, repurposed plastic cups, and modified aluminum can becomes a food supply network for nuts and pickles stored within its structure. In the adjacent rooms, a triangular tabletop is suspended from a composition of hammocks, providing a place of leisure that can be used by three visitors in a mindful balancing act. A periscope directed through the skylight connects the inner space of the gallery to the universe beyond—an invitation to view the world at large. Space operators within the ‘Kiosk’ offer instructions to guide visitors in the appropriate use of Könitz’s social sculptures.

Alice Könitz (b. 1970 in Essen, Germany; lives and works in Los Angeles) received an MFA from the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf in 1996 and an MFA from the California Institute for the Arts in 1999. Selected exhibitions include: Galerie nächst St. Stephan, Rosemarie Schwarzwälder, Vienna, Austria; Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA; UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Wall House, Groningen, The Netherlands; LA><ART, Los Angeles, CA; Susanne Vielmetter Berlin Projects, Berlin, Germany; and 2008 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY. Upcoming exhibitions include: Eastern Star Gallery, The Archer School for Girls, Los Angeles, CA; Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg, Germany, Southern Exposure, San Francisco, and Museum of the City of Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany. In 2012, Könitz founded Los Angeles Museum of Art (LAMOA), an experimental exhibition space that the artist describes as a “platform for an organic institution that lives through participation.” LAMOA was featured in the Hammer Museum's Made in L.A. 2014 and won the Mohn Award for artistic excellence.