Leni Hoffmann (b. 1962), who lives and works in Düsseldorf and who is still completely unknown in the international exhibition scene, certainly belongs to the most interesting new discoveries in the younger generation of artists.

She works with a material scorned by traditional sculpture, as it barely resists the artist's will to form. The resistance of the material indicates, moreover, the decisiveness of the artistic will to transform. The plastic modelling-material used by Leni Hoffmann has the status of being provisional, like unbaked clay. It was therefore reserved for the hands of children from which nothing permanent was awaited.

It is Leni Hoffmann's very own achievement to have rendered this material significant for temporary spatial installations and usable in an unconventional way. Within the framework of her stipend at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris 1990, she developed a relief-like installation for the mirror surfaces in a Parisian bar out of blue plastic modelling-material with which the grid-like structure of the mirrors were ornamentally set. An alternating rapport between the two- and three-dimensional compartments was created, making the ambience accessible to a totally new perception.

How sensitive the artist reacts to and transforms given situations also became clear in her work "Chasse d'Eau" (1991) at the Savings Bank in Nuremberg, where she created, parallel to the niches of the bank clerks, a type of niche for bank customers using existing partitioning walls. The modalities of the given interior architecture were thus at once emphasised and ironized.

At a gallery in Vevey, Switzerland, the artist was inspired by the different floor patterns on site to an installation of blue and ochre rectangles covering the entire floor of the space. In this work, entitled "Himmel und Äad" (1991), the real changes resulting from treading on it during the course of the exhibition, were conceptually integrated. The visitor was therefore not only a viewer of the temporarily installed floor ornament, but actively involved in altering its artistic form. The floor sculpture recorded the activities of its users.

Leni Hoffmann's installation "MANNA" at Portikus Frankfurt takes up this work: the artist installs a two-part floor- and wall-related work in the interior space in which the architectural conditions of the space themselves become topical. In addition, the immediate outside vicinity of Portikus is included by cutting grooves in the street surface and filling them with coloured modelling-material. By unhinging the doors of Portikus throughout the opening hours, the inside and outdoor spaces correspond with each other.

Photos: Katrin Schilling