About Lumen

Lumen is a series of glass sculptures inspired by the paintings of the series Silfra and the ceramic sculptures Landmannalaugar. They are an examination of light and color and investigate painting through material. Lumen was sponsored by the Alexander Tutsek Foundation and manufactured at Monmouth Glass Studio in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Tender Courage

Text: Nina Roskamp

As Lena Schmid-Tupou does not perceive the two-dimensionality of the canvas as a limitation, her work neatly eludes categorization. To her, the canvas is first and foremost a research space that invites her, the artist, to reminisce, offering an opportunity to transform both herself and her artistic work. When the artist gives herself up to a state of potential discomfort, this is a testament to her empathy, which is transferred boundlessly when I, as a viewer, engage with her work. Haptic memories are created via explorations with and through the material, with new realities sometimes emerging, that bear witness to a physical capability in the working process.

In her works from the Komorebi series, the sedate limbo of Silfra, a series of works by the artist from 2020, appears to have been subject to further development: The narrative style of this series, whose name translates to “light shining through the trees”, is more radical and unsparing. Schmid-Tupou has taken a step closer, walking through a drier, less crowded world than in Silfra, without moving away from her core theme, the impressions left by nature.

With this, she conquers the space a little more, she moves closer to the source. Once again, her work is concerned with a direct exploration of the environment by means of a physical experience with the material and the painting’s background. And she remains – and in this the artist stays true to herself – close to the experience, close to the impressive.

Lena Schmid-Tupou takes her work one step further, translating elements of her painting into glass sculptures. Here, she creates a synchronous experience combining transparency, physicality and reflection. Fragility and stability, vulnerability and strength are the potentially corresponding components of a complete oeuvre, the empathy inherent in which becomes palpable in the shared experience with the visitors who view her work as they walk.

The works exhibited at Kunstverein Braunschweig are a further development of Schmid-Tupou’s ceramic work series Landmannalaugar, which refers specifically to a mountainous region in the southwest region of Iceland that she first visited in 2008. The pull exerted by this country with its prodigious natural phenomena charms many artists, including the American Roni Horn, who describes the region’s nature as beguiling and disturbing by turns. Schmid-Tupou takes another approach to a country that is slowly being overrun by mass tourism – vulnerably and courageously.

Her explorations invariably demonstrate a remarkable sense of coloring, fragmentation and communication. The works testify to the dissolution of boundaries, while simultaneously defining questions of presence both carefully and concretely. The power of our environment and a reality which can prove hard to subdue demand tender courage and openness.

– Nina Roskamp is the director of the gallery Geyso20 in Braunschweig, Germany.

Lumen No 1 • 2021 • 12x12x15 cm • Glass
Lumen No 2 • 2021 • 20×18,5×22 cm • Glass
Lumen No 3 • 2021 • 18x17x17 cm • Glass
Lumen No 4 • 2021 • 21x18x17 cm • Glass
Lumen No 5 • 2021 • 23x22x20 cm • Glass
Lumen No 6 • 2021 • 19x24x20 cm • Glass
Lumen No 7 • 2021 • 22x29x30 cm • Glass
Lumen No 8 • 2021 • 19x24x25 cm • Glass
Lumen No 9 • 2021 • 23x29x30 cm • Glass
Lumen No 10 • 2021 • 23x21x21 cm • Glass