Critics’ Picks

untitled, 1999, oil and collage on plywood, 48 1/4 x 47 7/8".

untitled, 1999, oil and collage on plywood, 48 1/4 x 47 7/8".


Josef Kramhöller

Between Bridges
223 Cambridge Heath Road
January 25–March 11, 2007

It seems that seven years after his death by suicide, the cult reification of Josef Kramhöller is beginning—and perhaps none too soon. This selection of drawings and photographs seems a representative overview of his obscured, somewhat sad time in London—yet exhibits a sly appreciation of his adopted home. A series of small photographs from 1995 (all Untitled [fingerprint on window of luxury boutique]) are blurry evocations of shiny baubles and glad rags sullied by the mark of the commoner. Examples of Kramhöller’s writings from the mid-'90s are laid out in a vitrine: “the problem with space,” 1995, begins: “a flanuer in paris, a neurotic walker in prague, a murder in berlin, a happy shopper in london.” Paired with the photographs, it evinces a cinematic, if clichéd, commentary on the city, but it continues on in the unprecious vein of someone who sees through the treacly stereotypes. In the case of London, it is an accurate representation of its commodity-filled streets. Drawings and collages exhibited upstairs complete this small sacrament of a show. untitled (gherkin), 1999/2000, was drawn when the iconic London tower—visible, with a little neck craning, from outside the gallery—was still just a gleam in Norman Foster’s eye. Kramhöller’s feel for the urban terrain was foretelling. If only he could see London today.