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4th Kochi-Muziris Biennale: Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life Ocula Report 4th Kochi-Muziris Biennale: Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life 15 Feb 2019 : Natalie King for Ocula

'Poems are like sentences that have taken their clothes off.' Marlene Dumas' poetic and sensual refrain accompanies her figurative watercolours on view in Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life, the fourth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) in the southern state of Kerala, India (12 December 2018–29 March 2019).Dumas' new series...

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Ellen Altfest Ocula Conversation Ellen Altfest

The paintings of Ellen Altfest are ethereal in their detail. Fields of minutiae come together as pulsating images; small brushstrokes of oil paint accumulate over a series of months to single out seemingly innocuous subjects, such as a hand resting atop patterned fabric (The Hand, 2011) or a deep green cactus reaching upwards from beneath a bed of...

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Colomboscope 2019: Cross Currents and Dissonance Ocula Report Colomboscope 2019: Cross Currents and Dissonance 8 Feb 2019 : Nada Raza for Ocula

On the rooftop of the former Rio Hotel complex in Colombo, it was hard to ignore the high-rise buildings, still under construction, blocking all but a sliver of what used to be an open view over Slave Island, once an island on Beira Lake that housed slaves in the 19th century, and now a downtown suburb. The hotel was set alight during the...

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Esther Kläs

b. 1981, Germany

Esther Kläs is a contemporary artist best known for her monolithic sculptures most frequently made from concrete and resin. She also works in painting and printmaking, often placing all three media in dialogue with each other in her installations. Moving fluidly between two- and three-dimensional methodologies, Kläs explores marks and forms as records of the moment of their creation.

Though stoic from a distance, Kläs' work is delicate in detail. She tends to use materials she can manipulate by hand, and frequently leaves traces of the construction process behind. In this way, Kläs' work lends itself to the history of action painting, in which the final art object acts as documentation of a physical gesture. At a distance, the sculpture la nuit (2012) seems like a plain slab of concrete, but on closer inspection it possesses stripe-like indentations; the texture looks as if Kläs gently ran her fingers through the drying cement. This intentional irregularity lends the sculpture a feeling of temporality despite its scale and solid presence in the room.

Kläs' practice may be best observed historically as a descendant of Eva Hesse's post-Minimalist fascination with the bodily nature of materials. Kläs' monumental sculptures tend to rest around human-height, granting them anthropomorphic qualities. The other day (2016) is a tall slab of Hydrocal (a gypsum cement) in a burgundy hue. The slab has two metal poles sticking down from its bottom side, elevating it off the floor in the same way that legs lift a body off the ground. The sculpture begins to hover between an abstract exploration of form, materiality and weight, and an imaginative narrative in which a cement slab vibrates with life.

Kläs installs her sculptures to work in deliberate conversation with each other throughout each exhibition space they inhabit. In HERE (2014), an iron hoop is suspended from the ceiling on four sets of rope while, a couple of metres away, a piece of rubber tubing mirrors a section of the curve. The two parts of the one piece speak to each other across the room, but the distance between each half allows the viewer to interrupt—or perhaps become a part of—their conversation; the artist successfully manipulates not only the relationship between the sculptures, but also the relationship between the sculptures and the viewer moving through the room.

Kläs first attended Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in Germany, and then earned her MFA from Hunter College in New York. She lives and works in Barcelona.

Casey Carsel | Ocula | 2018
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Featured Artworks

Ser-O by Esther Kläs contemporary artwork Esther KläsSer-O, 2016 Bronze
150.5 x 170 x 15 cm
Xavier Hufkens
BA/JJ (blue) by Esther Kläs contemporary artwork Esther KläsBA/JJ (blue), 2013 Monotype with oil based ink on paper
200 x 300 cm
Xavier Hufkens
other stories by Esther Kläs contemporary artwork Esther Kläsother stories, 2017 Concrete
14 x 200 x 66 cm
Xavier Hufkens
ALL (eng/de) by Esther Kläs contemporary artwork Esther KläsALL (eng/de), 2017 Coloured pencil on paper
28.2 x 21 cm
Xavier Hufkens
green/black by Esther Kläs contemporary artwork Esther Kläsgreen/black, 2017 Wool
240 x 185 cm
Xavier Hufkens

Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Esther Kläs, HORIZONTE at Xavier Hufkens, Brussels
2 February–10 March 2018 Esther Kläs HORIZONTE Xavier Hufkens, 107 rue St-Georges, Brussels

Represented By

In Related Press

Esther Klas Related Press Esther Klas Art in America : 23 February 2012

The work commanded the room—no mean feat when its tallest component stands only 6 feet high—but its grandeur is matched by its pathos. All in is a triumph of rhythm and subtle colour play among cream, dun and brown; and unlike Hero heat halo, it’s quietly but definitely directional—stand behind it and you distinctly feel you’re missing the better...

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