The Audience, 2008
Acryl auf Leinwand
170 × 130 cm
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2019
A typewriter with a small logo that reads Titan, “the old-fashioned manufacturer“(1), could be considered the most famous subject of the German painter Konrad Klapheck. Born in 1935, Klapheck has produced painterly as well as graphic works in which everyday technical objects and machines lead surreal lives as the protagonists of his images. The familiar becomes strange, the everyday becomes uncanny. At the beginning of the 21th century, figuration in the form of the portrait found its way into Klapheck’s work. He also began painting concert scenes portraying the greatest musicians of the jazz world.
Alongside each painting Klapheck creates a drawing. In doing this, he has developed a technique on cardboard which calls to mind the classical preparation of large (wall) paintings from the Renaissance.2 The drawings are made in charcoal and pencil, less frequently in colored pencil, on canvas or (transparent) paper. The image is worked out to such an extent that it could no longer be considered a preliminary sketch. It is an independent drawing, the same size as the planned painting. Here the lines are revealed based on imaginary vanishing points. Their composition becomes legible in relation to the surfaces. Resultantly, various features come into focus such as dynamism, stasis, repetition, mass, emphasis, perspective, and choice of extract. But more than this, the reduction to a linear structure elucidates the tension on the surface of the painting. As an invitation to the art audience to take a look behind the scenes, there is a sense of directly participating in the creative process.
Galerie Jahn und Jahn presents a wide selection of drawings whose motifs range from diverse technical apparatus and machines to the concerts of famous jazz musicians. Individual paper works are shown in direct comparison with their colorful counterparts, the paintings.
Konrad Klapheck participated in the fourth and sixth documenta, and from 1979 to 2002 he was a professor at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. He has categorically refused numerous prizes for his artistic production throughout his life. Klapheck is generally considered one of the pioneers of the post-war avant-garde. His works have been shown internationally and can be found in important private as well as public collections including Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Sprengel Museum Hannover, and Museum Ludwig, Cologne.
(1) Quote Konrad Klapheck, in: Exhibition cat. Menschen und Maschinen. Bilder von Konrad Klapheck, Kunsthalle Recklinghausen, Recklinghausen 2006, 84.(2) Exhibition cat. Konrad Klapheck. Das graphische Werk, Kunstfoyer, Versicherungskammer Kulturstiftung, Munich 2015, 10.