Maureen Paley is pleased to exhibit a body of work by Jochen Klein, shown posthumously from his estate following his untimely death in 1997.
Having studied in the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, Germany, in 1989-94, Klein collaborated with Thomas Eggerer from 1993-96 and participated as a member of Group Material from 1994-96, moving to New York City with Eggerer in 1994. Though originally trained in Munich as a painter, Klein shifted his practice towards a more conceptual and social realm that manifested itself in his more overt critical and political work for Group Material. Then he embraced painting again in 1996 – when the body of work shown in this exhibition was conceived.
“_…Whatever else they are, these are Romantic paintings. When in 1802 Philipp Otto Runge said ‘…everything is becoming more airy and light than before… everything gravitates towards landscape’ he could have been talking about Klein’s paintings. Klein sets aside the oldest tradition of the classical landscape where nature exists subordinate to humankind, merely reflecting our desires, and actions upon the world. For his paintings Klein commissioned Kant’s ideas found in Critiques, that tell us how awareness forms experience and that the ultimate representation of the ‘thing-in-itself’ is an illusion._”
Excerpt from, Jochen Klein, by Ronald Jones, Frieze, Sept./Oct. 1998
“…Klein takes a longstanding pictorial tradition – the figure in the landscape – and gives it a distinctly contemporary feeling (though not necessarily a happy one). His subjects tend to be adolescents: lithe, dreamy, hypnotically unhurried youths who sit or lie in sketchily painted meadows or glades.
Klein has a florid, easy touch and a blissfully exultant sense of color. Flashes of yellow and red daubed onto washy, minty fields of grass stand in for wild flowers; a thicket of trees is painted with only a few fluid strokes. Leaves are shown as flecks of pigment, the undergrowth rendered in loose rapid marks.
The idyllic, if pensive, land of milk and honey serves as the backdrop for figures who appear either semi-clothed in same-sex couples, or alone with their thoughts. Klein has a real gift for mixing reverie and oblivion: His work describes the shore where memory and forgetfulness meet.
_Although they’re set in a Watteau-like continuum where time stands still within a landscape that seems never-ending, Klein’s figures are never buried by their surroundings; they are too sensuous and full of hope for that._”
Excerpt from, Jochen Klein, Jerry Saltz, Time Out, New York, 2 July, 1998
Solo exhibitions of note include: Kunstraum Munich, 1998, Feature Gallery, New York, 1998, Cubitt, London, 1998, Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Köln, 1998, as well as the group exhibition “From the Corner of the Eye”, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1998.