Klaus Kumrow

Developments within an artist’s oeuvre lead to new definitions of the ideas and structures that form it. At a certain moment, all considerations focus on the new form without actually touching the original form, like larvae which must take on another form in order to remain themselves. Klaus Kumrow has taken a similar step: from his photographic sculptures (folded photographs presented as sculpture) he has now developed large-format, flat photographs. The effect of this reduction, from the three-dimensional, to the two-dimensional, gives the works more power. Instead of seeming flat, they open themselves to more dimensions, and thus the concept of sculpture has expanded even as it technically disintegrates.

Three of a total of four photosculptures were shown. Ohne Aussicht (Without a view, 1992) is based on many photographs of rail-road tracks that Kumrow folded to look like toys. These were then photographed in front of a venetian blind in various positions. Multiple dimensions were created by placing the rails against the initial photograph, thereby juxtaposing the foreground and the background. To make the photographic representation of reality into an object, and then to catch it in another photograph in a way that perception is distorted, sets the stage for an ambivalent drama of limits and infinity. The titles such as “Ohne Aussicht” or “Zum Fenster hin” (Toward the window, 1992) also play on this juxtaposition. Kumrow’s work reflects a kind of thought structure that demonstrates the limitations and the infinity of these possibilities.

The remaining works were classical three-dimensional sculptures. In Glück gehabt (Was lucky, 1992) and Schere (Scissors, 1992), he uses forms from everyday reality, as he has for some time now. Schere is made up of two porcelain coffee filters in which holes have been sawed in order to produce new structural moments. Kumrow understands that forms developed for a specific function have within themselves new latent forms. His raw material is the end product of a process that has already transformed a given raw material. These works are classical because they are concerned with the process of taking away. But his forms are not simply a game with the second nature of a given thing, they are an attempt at a breakthrough—somewhere between a euphoric new investigation and a sober endurance of the givens of the initial material.

Wolf Jahn

Translated from the German by Charles V Miller.