Carlfriedrich Claus. 1930-1998. Mental Landscapes

23.07.2014 to 05.10.2014
Neue Nationalgalerie

Following on in its series 'Cabinet in the Gallery’, the Kupferstichkabinett now presents a new one-room show in the Neue Nationalgalerie to coincide with the gallery’s collection display 'Expansion of the Combat Zone, 1968-2000, the Collection, Part 3’. The Kupferstichkabinett’s show features some 35 prints, drawings, and a three-dimensional object by the Saxon-born artist and thinker Carlfriedrich Claus.

Based on his experimental use of language in visual poetry, Claus developed, in the early 1960s, the new visual format of the Sprachblatt, or 'speak sheet’, in which his thoughts took shape in a blend of drawing and writing. Well versed in the writings of Karl Marx, Rudolf Steiner, Ernst Bloch, and other sources in the Judeo-Christian and Far-Eastern intellectual canon, Claus professed - in spite of his own experiences under the dogmatic state socialism of the GDR - a firm belief in a communist society, in which the 'naturalized individual’ lives in harmony with a 'humanized natural world’. His text-drawings, often executed on both sides of transparent sheets, feature visually arresting, spindly forms that illustrate both the processual and dialectal (2 pages: thesis + antithesis = synthesis). Their lengthy titles, decipherable text passages, and recurring emblem-like motifs, such as eyes and hands, corners, and beams bring the viewer no closer to understanding their hidden meaning.

The works on display here are on loan from a private Berlin collection. From the Kupferstichkabinett’s own collection are a selection of sheets from the artist’s two most important graphic works, the portfolios 'Aurora’ (1977) and 'Aggregate K’ (1988).

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