10 Dec 2022 – 28 Jan 2023




 To encounter the works of Leunora Salihu
is to encounter a noticeable presence. They make themselves felt with their
human dimensions, the power of their form and materials, their balanced and
conversational relationships with and to each other in space, and the amazing
crafting techniques used to make them. These sculptural-architectural chimeras
are characterised by their “being-there and being-so”.[1]
All these qualities are ones the artist has been working at consistently and
tenaciously for the last two decades.

2021, using the title Pieces, Salihu curated a selection of her recent
sculptural works for exhibition in the well-lit pavilion of the Waldfrieden
Sculpture Park. Enigmatic arrangements, displaying the rapprochement of nature
and technology through the cooperation of their organic and putatively
functional elements. Wood and clay—which bring together the nature-technology
pairing that is so central to her art—are unsurprisingly her two most-used
working materials. Wood as an industrially processed product and clay as one of
the oldest natural working materials in the world. If one takes the titles
literally, then it would seem that these most recent works deal with energetic
phenomena such as light, sound, heat and water, which transmit themselves in
wave form and materialise in open-ended systems and sequences. In Resonanz
(2020), the sculpture stretches out horizontally in a row of ceramic shapes
resembling sideways vases, which seem to oscillate in their expansions and
contractions in between the technoid fibreboards that hold them aloft and
connect them. Elsewhere (Welle, 2020), clay forms glazed on one side in
a matte black attempt to insinuate themselves into a pre-existing rational
system. The qualities at work here can be seen in the processing and handling
of the clay. The self-confident perfection of the piece is both enlivened by
and latently suffused with the obdurate nature of clay once it has been dried
and fired, as well as by its ability to remember and reproduce “every touch”.[2]
In Turm (2020), which from a distance resembles a powerful sound system,
the role of communicating perfection is performed by sophisticated glazing. The
rectangular tower rises up in blocky modules

and appears, at least from the sides
made from fibreboard panels, to be straightforward and functional. The two
other sides, however, are covered with rows and columns of black-green glazed
ceramic objects resembling convex suction cups, which reflect the light that
falls on them.

kinds of natural phenomena inspire Leunora Salihu’s drawings as well. A medium
that, in the course of her development as an artist, first came into play for
Salihu during her studies in graphical arts at the academy in Pristina. The
academic approach was strict, and instructors were unforgiving in their
revisions, because,  after all, linework
must be exact. “It was tiring […] but it was always a wonderful feeling to have
made it through this process.”[3]
The high degree of sensitivity and precision gained from her studies is still
very much present in her current working method, which is intensive and
characterised by its diversity of production processes. It can also be seen in
her highly personal connection to the materials she works with.

artistic language of Leunora Salihu is defined by a passionate grappling with
materials, which find their way peerlessly into comprehensive new objects. The
themes that are most dear to her are bravely and self-confidently brought out
in her sculptures, even in these times of digitalisation, virtual reality and
NFTs. They illustrate burdens and burden bearing, touch on gravity and
lightness, acknowledge space and the space around space, and insist upon the
tactile and sensory qualities of material. In their suggestive visual power,
these works show themselves to be “carefully calculated flashpoints”,
unforgettable situations—experienced, observed and developed out of the
contrasts, contradictions and hazards of our modern world.[4]
These entities by no means expunge what is known and familiar to us through the
voiced silence of their obvious abstraction. Rich in ideas, evocative, powerful
and radical, they much rather help keep the known and familiar all the more


Text by Rita
E. Täuber


Kunstpreis Böttcherstraße 2022, pp. 85-87



Leunora Salihu, born 1977 in Prishtina, Kosovo, from
very early on, took up a very individual track which she continues to pursue,
often combining in her sculptures different materials including ceramic, wood,
and metal. Her sculptures, along with the spatial bodies and installations,
explore the possibilities and limits of movements by using the repetition of
organic and constructive form-elements. She has established a considerable and
multi-layered vocabulary of industrial, architectural, and organic forms, which
grant her works a sense of functionality, blurring the lines between where the
sculpture ends and where the pedestal begins; between interior and exterior.


In 1999, she fled to Germany, moving her studies to
the Muthesius Kunsthochschule in Kiel and then further to the Art Academy in
Düsseldorf. Since then, she has received several awards and has been included
in a number of group exhibitions at institutions including The National Gallery
of Kosovo (2017), Philara Stiftung (2015), Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art
(2015), Temporary Art Centre, Eindhoven (2015), Museum Kunstpalast Düsseldorf
(2014/15), and Kunstraum Düsseldorf (2012). Salihu’s first noteworthy solo
exhibitions were in 2011/12 at the Lehmbruck Museum in Duisburg and recently at
Skulpturenpark Waldfrieden in Wuppertal (2021), Philara Stiftung (2020), and at
the K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen (2017). She was also nominated for
the Prize of the Böttcherstraße in Bremen (2022). Leunora Salihu lives and works in

[1] Leunora
Salihu, quoted in Julia Wallner, „Ein
Kunstwerk ist für mich weniger ein

als ein Gegenüber. Ein Gespräch“, in: Leunora
Salihu, Bielefeld 2016, p. 42.


https://vimeo.com/453738741 [10.03.2022].


[3] Leunora
Salihu quoted in Susanne Meyer-Büser, „Das Rätsel des Objekts“, in: Cat.
Leunora Salihu. Gravity on a Journey, 
unstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Berlin 2017, p. 48.      


Gottfried Boehm, „Das spezifische Gewicht des Raumes. Temporalität und Skulptur“,
in: Angela Lammert (pub.), Topos Raum. Die Aktualität des Raumes in den Künsten
der Gegenwart, Berlin 2006, p. 36.