If you leave me I’m not following
February 18 – March 24, 2012
The Andrew Kreps Gallery is pleased to announce Klaus Weber’s third exhibition at the gallery If you leave me I’m not following. The show will feature works that were part of an exhibition that took place at the Nottingham Contemporary in 2011. A major show featuring over twenty new art works, the exhibition was accompanied by a show that Weber curated from the museum’s collection of works spanning 1,000,000 years. A catalog is forthcoming.
Klaus Weber’s artworks create ruptures with what we would call reality and in so doing they question our deepest belief systems. With recurring motifs of death, animism, and ritualism the works in if you leave me I’m not following provide a counterpoint to the shared understanding – social, natural, scientific, (and in some cases religiously codified) – that underpins society. In some cases they also aim to expose the rogue forces of nature that disrupt our desire for control. The natural world – and our changing view of what is natural – is a recurring theme of the exhibition. The “natural” could also be regarded as the given – the underlying assumptions we all share.
The work Against Nature is a reversed printing press that uses a heliostat to beam sunlight to a printing press. A bound book with blank pages is laid under a sheet of glass which has text printed upon its surface. During the show the paper itself is bleached, while the text is left dark leaving a shadow imprint of the complete text by JK Huysmans: A Rebours (Against Nature). Its narrative concentrates almost entirely on its principal character, and is a catalogue of the tastes and inner life of Jean Des Esseintes, an eccentric, reclusive aesthete and antihero, who loathes 19th century bourgeois society and tries to retreat into an ideal artistic world entirely of his own creation – sometimes of extreme corruption and decadence, and at other times of enlightened and brilliant creativity.
Questions of mortality are foregrounded through a grouping of plaster masks gathered by the artist at a plaster foundry in Berlin – most are death-masks, but these are installed with those from living subjects as well as some that were “taken” from imaginary subjects. As a group portrait, it condenses into an index of different and intensely important moments of time (pre and post mortem). Some expressions are those of relief, others retain the characteristics of one who has struggled through both life and death. Some eyes are naturally closed and others have artificially opened eyes – some are Hollywood actors…but what is most striking is the radical difference between the life and death masks that is detectable while not being explicable. Only upon very close inspection does it become visible – and yet it is so ephemeral it seems that not even a master sculptor could capture it.
Using honey as a clear medium, Weber has created the black prints (Honeyprint (Bierbrunnen) & (Fall), which depict two very faint but similar images: people grouped in a circle around a structure who seem to be attracted like fruit flies to a rotting fruit and who seem to be engaged in a ritualistic act. And similarly, as a whole, the works in the exhibition call forward latent or hidden cultural psychologies through references to pagan rites, shamanistic totems and counter cultural rituals.
Klaus Weber has shown extensively in European institutions, most recently at the Nottingham Contemporary in the UK, Secession in Austria, Hayward Gallery in London, the Kunsterverein Hamburg and Transmission Gallery in Glasgow. His work was included in Manifesta 7 in Tyrol and 11th Triennial of Small Sculpture, in Fellbach, Germany. He has had solo exhibitions with Herald St.– and his work has been included in group shows at the Kunstmuseum Bonn, the ICA London, and the Geffen Contemporary in Los Angeles.