Wednesday, July 5, 2017

John Kleckner. Years Disappear. Galerie Judin. Berlin.

Vernissage July 2nd, 2017.
John Kleckner. Years Disappear.
John Kleckner. Years Disappear.
John Kleckner. Years Disappear.
John Kleckner. Years Disappear.
John Kleckner. Years Disappear.
John Kleckner. Years Disappear.
John Kleckner. Years Disappear.
John Kleckner. Years Disappear.
John Kleckner. Years Disappear.
Press Release: Two years ago, Amer­ican artist John Kleckner, born in Iowa in 1978, took up paint­ing again. After working almost exclu­sively with ink, water­color and pencil on paper for sev­eral years, he cre­ated a dozen large-format paint­ings, which will be on view for the first time in our exhi­bi­tion. This change of technique has also prompted a change of style: the organic shapes and nat­u­ral­is­tic sub­jects of his works on paper have given way to geo­met­ric struc­tures, inject­ing an entirely new ten­sion into his com­po­si­tions. Now we find bars of carefully wrought plas­tic­ity, intricately assem­bled arrows and, in matt sil­ver shimmer, ser­pen­tine convo­lu­tions as well as many zones of color. But how do these ele­ments relate within the pic­ture? Patches of quirkily mutat­ing pig­ment and strangely falling shad­ows pose a rid­dle to the viewer: are they two-dimen­sional shapes that overlap, or are they three-dimen­sional arrange­ments of objects?
Kleckner’s works do not reveal the artist’s inten­tion imme­di­ately. And how­ever hard we try, almost none of his com­po­si­tions can be nailed down in fig­u­ra­tive terms. But our attempts to grasp and anal­yse his paint­ings yield a differ­ent insight: if at first the collaged com­po­si­tions and color var­i­a­tions sug­gest random com­pi­la­tions of het­ero­ge­neous compo­nents, closer scrutiny soon reveals that there is more to this than stand-alone arrange­ments. Again and again, sim­i­lar forms and hues emerge, some­times promi­nently placed, some­times cunn­ingly con­cealed. They belong to a surpris­ingly con­sis­tent formal repertoire that Kleckner has devel­oped over the last three years and exploited in var­i­ous ways for his se­ries of paint­ings. With this spectrum of ele­ments, Kleckner’s style is tread­ing new territory, lend­ing an unsus­pected momen­tum to his work. Many motifs seem to hark back to past visual worlds, notably from the 1960s to the 1990s—surely no coinci­dence for an artist who has declared the Ger­man term “Stilbruch” (breach of style) to be one of his favou­rite words.
Kleckner’s new repertoire of form is based on an on-going se­ries of paper collages that he started making in 2012. They con­tain frag­ments from sig­nif­icant ref­er­ences to art history, photos, graphic designs, snip­pets of global pop cul­ture and much more besides. Many of these collages have never been trans­lated into a paint­ing, while oth­ers have been pro­cessed sev­eral times over with var­i­a­tions. But Kleckner does not cling slav­ishly to his own templates. Ulti­mately, the col­ors and shapes are always var­ied. Thus every paint­ing is lib­er­ated from its pre­cursor, and by the end of the pro­cess two solitaires have been cre­ated. Kleckner refers to them as “carefully planned acci­dents”.
In the collages them­selves there are no text ele­ments to be found—at least, almost none. For although Kleckner him­self dis­penses with cut-out letters, each collage bears an enigmatic title printed at the bot­tom of the page: a number fol­lowed by a lengthy dash, fol­lowed in turn by two or three blanks, a ques­tion mark and end­ing with a year. The pages with these enigmatic titles were taken from the exhi­bi­tion cat­a­logue for Joseph Beuys’ The Secret Block for a Secret Per­son in Ire­land. Beuys attributed these combina­tions to the 296 works in his Block of 456 draw­ings, which had no spe­cific titles of their own. The number in front is the runn­ing inventory number and changes accord­ingly. Kleckner could not resist this blend of both the “impen­e­tra­ble and mys­te­r­i­ous” and the “pseudo-sci­entific and spe­cific”. It allowed him to appro­pri­ate and apply a sys­tem­atic framework for his own Block, which he eventu­ally called Ques­tions for a Secret Per­son in Iowa.
Kleckner’s first encounter with the work of the leg­endary Ger­man action artist and inventor of the Social Sculp­ture was a deter­min­ing moment in his artis­tic devel­op­ment. As a stu­dent he came across two small vol­umes about Beuys’ early draw­ings that shook his views of art—and what it could and should do—to the core. In the next few years, the idea that reproduc­tions, like those of Beuys’ works, might func­tion as a springboard for his own orig­inal work began to take shape. Now Kleckner’s cre­ations have been reproduced in his first mono­graphic exhi­bi­tion cat­a­logue—and they in turn can serve other artists as a basis for orig­inals of their own. It is poten­tially a chain reac­tion, and Kleckner certainly sees the funny side of it.

Monday, June 26, 2017

So Long and Thanks for All the Fish. Coup d'Oeil. New Orleans. June 2017.

Here are some pics from my 'final(?)' show at Coup d'Oeil Art Consortium in New Orleans.

It was quite a surprise that so many ghosts decided not to come home with me.

Press Release (abbreviated): 
CHRIS DENNIS: So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.
A special exhibition presented by Coup d’Oeil Art Consortium, New Orleans
June 9th and 10th 2017.
Coup d’Oeil Art Consortium is pleased to welcome the return of Chris Dennis in June, for a special two day exhibition of paintings, spanning his exhibition history with the gallery.
Chris Dennis joined Coup while it was still in its infancy, back in 2009. In that time, he has participated in numerous group shows and salons at the gallery, featured at art fairs in Miami and New York, and presented three well received solo shows:  
*Any similarity to persons living or dead is entirely intentional (2009), detritus (2011) and Please Be Quiet, Please (2013).
New Orleans is a hard town to turn your back on, and when Chris left Louisiana in 2010 he left behind many belongings and a lot of paintings, leaving the door open for a possible return. But, after three years in Auckland (NZ) and three in Zürich (CH), Chris has settled with his family, in Berlin.
Chris has recently exhibited in group and solo shows across Europe and New Zealand including Auckland, Berlin, London, Brighton, Saint Gallen and Zürich. In 2016 he presented MOTIF/MOTIVE, (his most ambitious solo show to date), at the Jedlitschka Gallery in Zürich, Switzerland and in May 2017 he had a solo booth at the 25th anniversary of Huntenkunst in the Netherlands.
Please join us on the evening of Friday June 9th, 2017 from 5pm – 8pm and on Saturday June 10th from 10am -2pm. Chris will be in the gallery from early Friday morning, hanging the show. If you are unable to make the opening, please stop by anytime during the day to view the work, say hello or goodbye, and perhaps save him the trouble of putting a piece on the wall.