press release

Let's celebrate memories and dreams by embracing the mundane and pop elements of our lives. Stardust is a mix of Yellow Submarine with Saturday Night Fever. Assume Vivid Astro Focus and Kalaman are not afraid to defend the beauty of commodities. They produce, explore, exploit, sell and expose their works in many manners. They are pro-product and optimistically accept personal attachment to corporate culture. The Beatles, Adidas, soccer, cartoons and Atari can still inflict a starry-eyed unconditional innocence. Both artists employ pseudonyms, but for different reasons: Robert Lutz uses Kalaman as a brand name for his art; Eli Sudbrack founded Assume Vivid Astro Focus as a communal life style. Both strategies stem from advertising and the belief that their attitude should be shared.

Kalaman leverages the brand equity of Germany by appropriating Adidas iconography, as well as more banal standardized industrial products including pencils, t-shirts and ladders. Through irony, he creates work revealing the pride and sentiment of German products and their relationship to their precise production and highly considered craftsmanship: "Made in Germany" or in this case: "Made by Kalaman". Without apology "he" is a company, an idea factory.

Another point of entry is in his critique of criticism. Playing on politically correct language he has employed children to produce pieces (Guaranteed Child Labor) and created works such as a mousetrap with the word "unfair". Other work takes a less sarcastic view. The ladder series (First Step, Stairway to Heaven and I am so high) relates to the innocent aspiration of becoming famous. Industrial ladders are covered with mirrored tiles, capitalizing on our obvious desire for stardom. Reflective tiles also cover three-dimensional bubble script sculptures. Decontextualized glittering words like happiness and dope float into ones mind like disco balls hypnotizing the dance floor.

Assume Vivid Astro Focus is a dynamic project, which operates as a collective force. Audience members can take part in the project on the premises or at home via postcards, stickers, etc. At its core, it is art as fan club. AVAF has developed a universe and philosophy flowered with psychedelic protagonists influenced by memories of childhood and wonder. It is a world of fantasy and dreams, where happiness replaces despair and skeptical irony.

Even though AVAF embraces similar ideas as Kalaman regarding consumerism and pop culture, the approach is more ethereal and dreamy. Manipulating "commercial art" references such as Peter Max and Milton Glaser, AVAF creates a disclosed world of personal introspection. Rediscovery and uncritical innocence conjure up a romantic déjà-vu. Using 60's inspired mural installations where fluorescent imagery and cartoony decals float on graphic backgrounds, whirls of memories emerge from this kaleidoscope of illustrations.

Stardust is a state of being; it draws on our fading memory and allows it to be present. Through the process of mining memories held by the public, they become personal and meaningful. Without preconception, both artists celebrate the popular culture of "glam-rock", slang and an accumulation of seemingly shallow experience. It is about letting go, having fun, celebration and bliss.

Fernanda Arruda, Director, Anton Kern Gallery

Artists: Kalaman (b. Germany, 1966; lives in Cologne) Assume Vivid Astro Focus aka Eli Sudbrack (b. Brazil, 1968; lives in New York)

only in german

Kurator: Anton Kern

Künstler: assume vivid astro focus aka Eli Sudbrack, Kalaman