Thursday, November 13, 2008

blauorange art prize 2008

Kitty Kraus uses materials and physical processes in her sculptures and installations in unexpected ways. She received the 2008 blauorange art prize awarded by the German Cooperative Banks (Volksbanken and Raiffeisenbanken). Her prizewinner's exhibition, curated by Bettina Klein, is on show at the Kunstverein Heilbronn through December 12, 2008.

At first glance, the two sculptures are nearly invisible in the large exhibition space. Only the sharp, rough edges of the glass shards indicate the contour of simple geometric designs in a precarious equilibrium. The upper glass surface bends under high stress up to its breaking point. In the second sculpture, the edges of a glass torso penetrate the wall while another slides down the torso in an exhausted posture. There is a counterweight to the glass sculptures in the room, an object fixed at eye level on the wall: the handle of an IKEA shopping cart, the inscription of which - slightly altered - offers a play on words.

The rectangular cuts of suit fabric in the second room, in various shades of black, in white cotton or greenish chequered tweed, lie on the floor in strictly regimented formation like socially encoded husks. A metallic, gleaming ensemble faces the soft materials: shoehorns made of chrome and brass, grotesque, tongue-like objects, are complemented by two Styrofoam helmets sliced off horizontally at the head's width.

"Kitty Kraus places abstract symbols in space, encrypted messages made of glass, metal, cloth or found objects, which nightmarishly cross and 'circumscribe' the field of the human condition," describes Veit Loers, chairman of the jury for the blauorange art prize, the work of this year's chosen artist. Kitty Kraus was born in Heidelberg in 1976. She lives and works in Berlin.

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