Kreuz & Queer Jürgen Klauke


The drawings from the series Kreuz & Queer are initially captivating due to their black and white aesthetic, the exciting interaction between figures whose surface is completely black, and the white lines inscribed onto them, and by the interplay of space and emptiness. Likewise, in most of the drawings, one can mainly observe rectangular shapes—less often circular ones—that are occasionally inscribed and superimposed onto the forms, simultaneously dividing, and connecting them. These forms seem to function as “transformers”. What appears black on the outside is white on the inside and vice-versa. They play the paradoxical role of revealing by concealment. Occasionally, the lines that wander freely through the page also stand out, incessantly emanating from the figures or escaping their silent interaction. The drawings reveal a complex game of forms that is read in positive and negative; one of solid and fragmented corporealness, erotically charged motifs, and de-individualized components. One of inside and out. Everything is entangled, intertwined, and mixed. Sometimes, a subtly modulated expressivity bursts onto these masterfully executed drawings. Body parts embrace, swallow, and introduce themselves into one another. Abstract breasts, growing phalluses, stretched testicles, and multiple vaginal orifices are intertwined in a deformed fashion, appearing in the most unsuspected parts of the body. Everything is one, one is all, nothing is complete.

Not only are his drawings simultaneously the dream and nightmare of human existence, but so is his oeuvre. On one hand, the awareness of life’s meaninglessness, with its shortcomings and impositions, and on the other, the utopia of a free and self-determined life, devoid of social and gender-related constraints and boundaries; a life in which everyone can be happy as they please.

Those who know Jürgen Klauke’s work are aware that, aside from the traits directly referring to social reality, the artist always addresses the aestheticizing of the existential. His latest series of photographs entitled Bodysounds, which Klauke has been working on since 2019, will be on display in this exhibition. The series recovers the essential aspects of his work and continues with the discourse centered on human existence along with its challenges and pitfalls. To a greater or lesser degree, the artists portray himself as the protagonist of his photographs and is often obscured by a humanoid figure that seems to weigh him down with its physicality, inflating and collapsing into itself. Conversely, in previous works, a series of black water-filled balloons hang menacingly above the artist as a symbol of life’s fragility and seem to have coalesced to form an organism. Whether above, in front, or behind him, there is no escaping the mass-like alter-ego. The inflated and deflated limbs of the large mannequins stand in a delightful contrast against the subtle glimmer of each one of the balloons by means of the gauzes that tie them together. Their fragility seems to be magnified; not only do the balloons have a finite life, but so do the gauzes that envelope them.