Demarkation / Transit
28.01.2018 until 18.03.2018
The photographic works of the artist and writer Stephan Kaluza (b. 1964) tell of the interplay between humankind and nature. Human actions and natural disasters turn numerous locations into places of destiny. Desolate fields and meadows, such as the battlefields of Waterloo and Verdun or the present-day memorial to the Holocaust at Auschwitz, have become symbols of European history. The mere geographical designation of these commemorative sites is now far less present than their historic and symbolic significance.
What deeper primal fears, wishes and yearnings are concealed behind these images of an alleged idyll that shows itself in the form of an untroubled natural world, which here resembles a ‘timeless now’? Thus the depicted landscapes look strangely distant, removed from the confines of time and yet so familiar in their normality, trained and captured in an ‘everyday of seeing’ that Kaluza uses here to convey his deeper message – the transience of human action between the parameters of time and nature.
In addition to these photographic series, which document the complexity and ambivalence of an idyllic landscape, in his ‘Bildstücke’ (‘Picture Pieces’ or ‘Picture Plays’), in the works Maschine (2018) and Drohnen (2014) for example, Kaluza confronts the theme of narrative pictorial sequences. For each ‘picture piece’, he takes several thousand photographs of a stage action or of performances, which are then linked together as a seamless strip of pictures. While the photographs are taken at different times and thus document the chronology of the action, yet the static total picture can be taken in ‘at a glance’. The approach of these works thus consists not in replacing the spoken word by pictures, but rather in creating a conceptual total composition of the visibly narrative.
To complement these photo series, the Ludwig Museum is now showing the artist’s current painting. Like the photography, it takes up the principle of horizontality and consolidates it in numerous sequences and superimposed layers. Like sediments of an organically grown historicity, it develops a rhythm of its own, a rhythm of coloured attunements sometimes reminiscent of the eruptive forces of nature. In this way, in his paintings Kaluza develops a further way of looking at nature – and thus painting and photography follow a constant concept: questioning the idyll in the historic and contemporary context alike.
Stephan Kaluza studied painting and art history in Düsseldorf. Since 2002 he has devoted himself increasingly to the medium of photography and to literature.
On show are 20 large-format photographs and the same number of paintings. The exhibition has been implemented in close collaboration with the artist.