Jürgen Klauke. Aesthetic Paranoia
Wed, May 12, 2010 7 pm CEST, Opening
The way of thinking and experiencing in past epochs can, with Shakespeare, be rewritten as the structure of intrigue. The ways of thinking and experiencing in the present can probably be aptly described with the title of a book by a successful top manager of hegemonic information and communication technologies: "Only the Paranoid Survive" by Andrew S. Grove (in the late 1960s, co-founder of the computer firm Intel and its CEO until 2004). In an era of ubiquitous data flows, paranoia seemingly operates as an undercurrent of all psychic and social processes. The psychoanalyst Lacan entered the field in 1932 with an examination of paranoia. The disturbance of perception created by paranoia is no longer a failure in the classical difference between illusion and reality, between reality and representation, but instead, perception is doomed by interpretation's primacy over it: all that is perceived is interpreted differently than it is shown.

Jürgen Klauke was the first to emphatically transfer this symptom of contemporary society's condition into aesthetics. Aisthesis, from which aesthetics is derived, means perception. His current work thus describes paranoid perception, as well as the paranoid structure of our present world.
Klauke contemplates in his photographs in austerely minimal to excessive, sometimes also surreal scenes, the basic conditions of paranoid existence. Using quotidian materials as a means of staging his photos, he achieves a concentrated look at the absurdity of life and the systematic collisions between subject and system, stimulus and reaction. Jürgen Klauke, who as one of the seminal photo and media artists in Germany has achieved pioneering art work in the area of Body Art and critical confrontation with socially normed gender identities and social patterns of behavior, now goes even further in his new work phase.

The exhibition at ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art will present a selection from Jürgen Klauke's most recent work group, for example, from the recent series of large format black-and-white photos "Ästhetische Paranoia" and "Wackelkontakt," as well as the premiere of the series "Schlachtfelder," which was created especially for the exhibition. In addition, Jürgen Klauke will install two sound spaces and an environment with seven plasma screens, showing another fascinating facet from the Cologne media artist’s extensive oeuvre.
Organization / Institution