artist / participant

press release

The works by Josef Kramhöller in this exhibition are loosely connected by an interest in the surface and architecture of urban life. The human figures and buildings are interacting in a way suggesting the city as an enlarged stage set. In this space personal as well as public stories and histories are inscribed and acted out. Repeated in several works from 1999 / 2000 is the cigar like shape of the Swiss RE / gherkin building (then only existing as a planning proposal), and the funnel shape of what might be the inside of the dome of the Berlin Bundestag. In the set of six photographs presented here, Kramhöller has documented his direct interaction with the facades of the city. The seemingly out of focus photographs home in on his finger prints that he left on windows of luxury boutiques, touching the controlling border between having and not having.

The process of opinion formation within his personal and professional environment was of ongoing interest to Kramhöller. He studied and wrote about his experience of being within British art education in the mid-nineties. Manuscripts on this subject, later published in his book of writings Genuss Luxus Stil (1999, permanent press, £12 at the desk), are displayed in the vitrine. Performance and reciting his writings were important parts of Kramhöller’s practice throughout his career.

Josef Kramhöller was born in 1968 in Wasserburg / Bavaria. He studied at Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich, where he was part of a small group of painting students who questioned the master painter’s approach still dominant at the academy in the early nineties. Instead he got involved in alternative practices like Institutional Critique and performance. He concluded his studies in 1995 with an MA at Chelsea College of Art and Design in London, where he settled to live and work. In the late nineties he made an important contribution to several group shows here in London including Telescopic Memories in Orbit House, curated by Josephine Pryde and Sarah Staton, which took place shortly before Josef Kramhöller died in 2000. In 2004 the first retrospective of his work was shown at Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf, with a catalogue published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König.

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Josef Kramhöller