Clemens Krauss’ works deal with the psychological currents of society and their impact on individual and social psyches. Krauss states that “social collectives are constituted by physical human interactions; the interaction of bodies. Starting from the human body, friction(s) and predetermined breaking lines within social structures are the core interest of my current work.” Krauss tries to open spaces, painting scenes with a clinical but sensitive look. Often, he paints figures in a thick, agitated painting style, placing them in ambiguous interactions within vast spaces of negative space. It is not by accident that, prior to his art studies at the Berlin University of the Arts, Clemens Krauss also completed his training as a medical doctor and later as a psychoanalyst. In his oeuvre, painting and performance, sculpture, psychoanalysis and video fuse together to examine the way that people navigate social spaces.
Krauss’ many consultation-based performances include his project ‘Transfer’ for the 13th Havana Biennial. This participatory piece invited people to book anonymous consultations with the artist. Through this intensely personal medium, Krauss begins a conversation about the dynamics of power, anonymity and absence. Drawing from each of these sessions, Krauss also created a site-specific mural, applying paint in dense, sparse constellations akin to his works on canvas.
Krauss delves deeply into ordinary lives in extraordinary ways, pulling apart the psychological threads of humanity on both a personal and political level. For ‘Elternhaus’ (Parental Home), Krauss inserted a 25 meter long endoscope through the ceilings of his parents’ home. Together with an architect, a craftsman, and a colleague, Krauss drilled through ceilings and floors to record each room. He then lathed and plastered the holes closed to leave no trace of the incursion, reflecting on privacy, intimacy and the everyday. For ‘The Taster’, he filmed an old lady eating; Margot Wölk (b.1917, Berlin) who was obligated to taste the meals of Adolf Hitler for possible poisoning in the final years of WWII. She is known as the last living testimony to this kind of apparatus. This sense of the intimate and bizarre having the capacity to magnify social and psychological concerns also informs his more abstract paintings.
Works by Clemens Krauss have been exhibited extensively across the world, including in Seoul, Chengdu, Rio de Janeiro, Stockholm, Vienna, Los Angeles, Tel Aviv, Cuba and recently in Brazil at the Curitiba Biennial. His 2020 project ‘Isolation Consultation’, facilitated by Haus am Waldsee in Berlin, involved over 180 individual psychoanalytic sessions of 50 minutes each, reflecting on the extreme situation of the immediate present. In Australia, he has been awarded residencies and exhibitions at Artspace, the National Art School, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
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