Johannes Kahrs: Tropical Nights

Johannes Kahrs: Tropical Nights

untitled (food) by johannes kahrs

Johannes Kahrs

Untitled (food), 2013

untitled (sunday afternoon 2012) by johannes kahrs

Johannes Kahrs

Untitled (sunday afternoon 2012), 2013

untitled (head p.m.) by johannes kahrs

Johannes Kahrs

Untitled (head P.M.), 2013

untitled (man asleep) by johannes kahrs

Johannes Kahrs

Untitled (man asleep), 2013

Sunday, January 19, 2014Saturday, February 22, 2014

Zeno X Gallery
Antwerp, Belgium

JOHANNES KAHRS: Tropical Nights

Opening Sunday 19 January 2014, 3 - 6 pm

January 22 - February 22, 2014
Wednesday - Saturday 1 - 5 pm

Zeno X Gallery is proud to announce “Tropical Nights”, the seventh solo exhibition by the German painter Johannes Kahrs (°1965, Bremen). Although Kahrs is also known for his charcoal drawings and films, he chose to focus on painting for this show. In these new works he continues to experiment with various painting genres, including portraiture, still life, landscape and the interior. The painting depicts a fragmented or isolated scene, separating it from its original embedded context. “The painting is what remains and with it the mystery of the painting” (J. Kahrs).

Kahrs is not searching for specific content or for a real situation when collecting images. A picture only becomes a reason to paint when it affects him emotionally and induces a creative sensation. As Ulrich Loock writes in “Transcendence in Flesh and Blood” the artist liberates the painting from its origins and models so it is irrelevant to compare them. Kahrs is much more interested in solving painterly problems and avoiding narration in figurative painting. Any possible interpretation of the painting is in the eye of its beholder and becomes a reason to question perception and experience. Ralph Rugoff states the following:

While his iconographic repertoire sometimes suggests an ambition to confront contemporary history, Kahrs seems mainly concerned with how we relate to images today (which is a historical development in itself, of course). One of the principal psychological effects engineered by our world that we only witness. Kahrs’s paintings work against the grain of this kind of detached, photographic way of seeing. The oblique angles, disjunctive framing, and general levels of visual ‘noise’ in his pictures unsettle any lingering notion that we can remain safely detached, at a hygienic distance, from the pictures that we view. (in: Johannes Kahrs, 2009, Hatje Cantz)

In recent years Johannes Kahrs has expanded his colour palette to a softer and brighter spectrum. Now the drama and uncanny atmosphere in his works unfold in broad daylight. The human body is still one of Kahrs’s chief concerns. “Tropical Nights” is poised on the fragile borders between reality, truth, fiction, fantasy and dreams. His intention is not to remember existing places or experiences. Instead he activates an image machinery. Paintings such as “Untitled (sea)” and “Untitled (shell)” are more than just an ordinary representation of something we are all familiar with. They are like keys to the subconscious mind, awakening it just like the Madeleine biscuit in Marcel Proust famous novel “A la recherche du temps perdu”. The moment right before you fall asleep and just before you wake up can be revealing and confronting. You no longer control your senses so random associations are easily created. In “Untitled (man asleep)” and “Untitled (head P.M.)” Kahrs seems to suggest that there is something going on that eludes our observation. The emphasis seemingly is on isolated body parts but the state of mind is difficult to trace back.

In April 2014 a solo exhibition of Johannes Kahrs’s new work will open at Kunsthalle Nürnberg in Germany. Previous solo exhibitions include GAMeC in Bergamo (IT), Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art in London (GB), FRAC Pays de la Loire in Carquefou (FR), Kunstverein München (DE), S.M.A.K. in Ghent (BE) and Centre PasquArt in Biel (CH). Kahrs has participated in many group shows including at Centre Pompidou in Paris (FR), Dallas Museum of Art (USA), SFMOMA in San Francisco (USA), Galerie Neue Meister in Dresden (DE), Castello di Rivoli in Turin (IT), Hayward Gallery in London (GB), Bozar in Brussels (BE) and many more. His work is also included in the collection of Centre Pompidou in Paris (FR), Musée Carré d’Art in Nîmes (FR), FRAC des Pays de la Loire in Carrequefou (FR), FRAC Auvergne in Clermont- Ferrand (FR), Galerie Neue Meister, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen in Dresden (DE), Hamburger Bahnhoff in Berlin (DE), MoMa in New York (USA), Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (USA), Hammer Museum in Los Angeles (USA), Dallas Museum of Art (USA), Museo Serralves in Porto (PT) and Fundacio “La Caixa” Contemporary Art Collection in Barcelona (ES).