Digital pigment print.
51 x 50 cm [20 x 19.7 inches].
Edition of 35, signed and numbered.
About the work
To accompany the exhibition ‘“la Caixa” Collection of Contemporary Art: Selected by Maria Fusco’, at Whitechapel Gallery, 8 May – 1 September 2019, Astrid Klein has created a new artists’ edition.
Astrid Klein is best known for her large-format, black-and-white ‘photoworks’ and collages, paintings and neon sculptures. Since the 1970s she has combined found photographic images and textual excerpts with drawn and painted elements to produce striking artworks. Her work and contemporary output is rooted in and inspired by the concerns of critical media artists of the 1970s, who worked with appropriating tools from the public sphere – namely printed and mass media. Klein’s ‘photoworks’ combine visual and textual elements in a deft manipulation of aesthetics that convey concerns on critical contemporary issues, such as the role of women in society or the competing notions of success and failure, as well as wider themes of memory, time, and transience. Klein’s collages regularly engage with depictions of ascribed gender roles and idealised femininity, such as pin-up posters, in combination with politically-charged images; a dichotomy which suggests shifting scenarios of self-destruction, and the idea of perpetrator and victim. These connotations and relationships, amongst others, are subtly suggested.
The Whitechapel Gallery edition depicts images of Italian actress Monica Vitti, who made her name in the 1960s, which are juxtaposed with a repetitive text that alludes to painterly expression and the notion of the artist. Suggesting a relationship between art and film, this expression is formally echoed by Klein’s use of gestural green brushstrokes that may be intended to evoke the iconic green coat worn by Vitti in Michelangelo Antonioni’s critically-acclaimed 1964 film ‘Il Deserto Rosso’.
About the artist
Since the 1970s, Astrid Klein (b.1951, Cologne, Germany) has been exploring the politics of representation in the mass media through large-scale composite photographs that she refers to as ‘photoworks’. One of he first artists to use large format slides, she combines visual material taken from newspapers and magazines with fragments of theoretical texts from literature, philosophy and neuroscience. By enlarging and manipulating the images in the dark room she creates complex compositions that question the possibilities and limits of photography and other artistic formats. Her practice also includes collages, paintings and neon sculptures, which explore perception through the interplay of text and light.
Klein Lives and works in Cologne.
Klein has had solo exhibitions at Kestnergesellschaft Hannover, ICA London, Seccession, Vienna (all 1989), Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2002), Art Centre, Vilnius (2003), the Renaissance Society, Chicago (2017) and Deichtorhallen, Hamburg (2018). Among her important group exhibitions are Tate Gallery, London (1987), Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (both 1992), Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin (1997), Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2008) and Deichtorhallen, Hamburg (2015). She also participated in the 6th Sydney Biennale as well as the 42nd Venice Biennale (both 1986), Documenta 8, Kassel (1987) and Sharjah Biennial 14 (2019).
Whitechapel Gallery editions are generously donated by the artists. All proceeds from the sale of these works directly support our exhibition and education programmes.
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