Clemens Krauss: Ein Alltag at DNA


June 8, 2010

Clemens Krauss
Ein Alltag

11 June – 10 July 2010

10 June 2010, 6-9 p.m.

Auguststraße 20
10117 Berlin, Germany

From 11 June until 10 July 2010, DNA presents the solo exhibition Ein Alltag of the Austrian artist Clemens Krauss. The opening will be held on 10 June 2010 from 6 to 9 p.m.

To what extent can human individuals be represented as socially interacting entities, as “bodies” in society and politics? Clemens Krauss investigates this question in his multi-media works and he often chooses the most difficult approach: He adopts an autobiographical perspective.

In this exhibition, he focuses on different body concepts, which conceive of the body as a site of political conflicts and interpersonal relationships, thematize its performative appropriation of experiences, or consider it as an ambivalent bearer of private history and personal identity. At the same time, his works emphasize the specifically organic quality of “bodies” in a broader sense, including also working material and living environments.

Vier Körper (“Four bodies”), a series of five canvases, shows life-size bodies observed with the distant surveillance of the bird’s eye view. The poses of these bodies are re-enacted from conflict situations that are familiar to us from the media: their ubiquity has virtually made them part of our everyday. Conceptually, these canvases continue the approach of the series Chromosomes: fragmented, almost pictographical bodies are executed in thick layers of oil paint and isolated on white canvases.

With the video Yesterday, the exhibition takes a decidedly autobiographical turn while maintaining an interest in the living conditions and social practices that determine the everyday (“Alltag”) in contemporary Western societies.

In the course of a camera movement through the private living space of Clemens Krauss, Yesterday demonstrates the conspicuous presence of images of torture and war within situations of prosaic banality. Thus, amidst the setting of a Berlin artist’s flat, we unexpectedly encounter a mass of human flesh.

In the case of the nine canvas series Denk Display, a selection of works executed during a previously determined time span comes to represent the impressions and thoughts of this particular phase. In the seemingly disparate combination of different genres and techniques, we can distinguish the remembrance of events and media images, as well as of artistic styles and patterns of perception.

The piece Selbstportrait als Objekt (“Self-portrait as an object”) consists of a 1950s design chair, which the artist inherited from his grandmother and had covered with a lifelike reproduction of his own skin. With this work, he continues an interest of earlier projects, in which he explored the possibilities of (an artist’s) self-portrayal, culminating in the anti-heroic reduction to the skin – as sheer surface, but also as border of the perception towards both the inside and the outside. If Krauss with his current piece pushes the objectification of the body a step further, yet in an act of appropriation the empty skin is refilled: with history and memory.

What remains of the irrational? shifts the perspective to deal with social perception: Krauss had police experts in Graz (Austria) create identikit pictures of himself according to descriptions provided by his parents and two of his siblings. Thus, he focuses on his provenance and on the way he is perceived by members of his family against the background of a migrating nomad-artist and thus thematizes the question of an absentee’s presence: in his hometown visited only occasionally, Krauss exists as a kind of phantom.

Opening Hours
Tuesday – Saturday, 11 am – 6 pm

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Press contact
Mirko Nowak
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Image above:
Clemens Krauss
Vier Körper
Oil on canvas, 5 canvases, 120 x 90 cm each
Photo: Bernd Borchardt
Courtesy: the artist & DNA, Berlin