white marble, milk
31,7 x 36 x 5,4 cm (12 1/5 x 14 1/8 x 2 1/8 in.)
signed and dated on the underside
In 1975, Wolfgang Laib created the first of his famous “Milkstones”, a series of works that he has continued with to the present day. These “Milkstones” are rectangular plates of polished white marble with a minimal indentation ground into the upper plane. The artist then fills this void with milk, creating the illusion of a solid white structure. For Laib, the pouring of milk into the stone's cavity is a ritual in which others should also participate. He himself only poured the first milk; the owner of the work or the staff of the exhibiting gallery or museum are tasked with emptying and cleaning the stone’s cavity at the end of each day and then filling it with fresh milk again the next morning. The “Milkstones” are a combination of nature and Minimal Art, of strength and vulnerability, of liquid and solid. They reflect Laib's deeply felt philosophical world view, with its decisive influences from Far Eastern and Arabic spirituality. As a trained physician, Laib has strived from an early stage of his artistic career to obtain a holistic view of life, long before this term became fashionable.