“Anke’s art encapsulates our work and our mission in a poetic way that will resonate with everyone who enters our building. We wanted a work made of paper, given that it is a material of primary importance to the Folger, but we also wanted something that would create a sense of enlightenment and elevation. Those who encounter it experience its lift and illumination,” said Folger Director Michael Witmore.
This is Neumann’s first work in a U.S. cultural institution, and her collaboration with the Folger was set in motion while she was installing sculptures at hotel properties in the DC region. She is a former student and studio assistant of Gangolf Ulbricht, who specializes in handmade paper and book restoration. Ulbricht has collaborated with the Folger’s conservation laboratory on numerous occasions, and he recommended that Folger staff see Neumann’s work. For the commission, Neumann was asked to create a work that would support the Folger as it dynamically brings new perspectives to bear on Shakespeare and the early modern world.
“It is a powerful thing to have a contemporary artist pose questions about Shakespeare and the early modern world from a different angle. With each artist commission in our reimagined building, we have the opportunity to restate the value of Shakespeare and the humanities,” Witmore said.