Klein, Astrid CUT VII, 1986/1996
transparent/ film measurments: 280 x 420 cm © Astrid Klein Courtesy: Sprüth Magers Berlin

About the work

Already back in the 1980s Klein developed a new, large-scale group of works on transparent film that were however only realized in 1996 in the context of the CUT I-VII group of digital exposures. The piece is composed of combinations and superimpositions of digitally manipulated image and text elements that are typical of Klein’s work. In this way the visibility of the montage process as well as the high translucency also underline the montage of the image idea.

In CUT VII (1986/1996) Klein uses a quote from Stephen Hawking’s model of imaginary time in which neither the big bang nor the collapse can exist: "There must be no singularities in the imaginary account of time” (“In der imaginären Rechnung der Zeit muß es keine Singularitäten geben"). This is juxtaposed with what seems like a newspaper cut-out photograph of Hanns Meyer Schleyer’s car, the employers' association president that was abducted and then murdered by RAF terrorists in 1977. The cut-up text emphasizes the words “imaginary” and “singular” all the while “-täten” might also be read as “töten” (German: to kill) due to the chosen typeface. Through this juxtaposition the Schleyer kidnapping is transposed from a singular news event to a more general consideration of politically motivated violence and power structures.


About the artist

Astrid Klein

born 1951 in Cologne

lives and works in Cologne

Since her education at the Werkschulen Cologne until 1977 Astrid Klein has worked as an artist until the present day. From 1993 to 2017 she was a professor at Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig. Throughout her career she was the recipient of many awards including the Käthe-Kollwitz Price (1997) and the Helmut-Kraft Price (2000).

“Facets of historical memory, the present and a cultural memory formed by language and the archive characterize Astrid Klein’s work. Her works follow the rules of montage, they distort the given image and enable an entirely new room for aesthetic experience. The photographic original loses its documentary character in Klein’s work. Robbed of its narrative logic it is turned into a monumental signifier and competes with mythological painting in order to explore historical and political realities with a feeling of existential hopelessness. Klein’s works open up photography for us, they direct our gaze towards the representation, the coarseness, out of focus, constructed. They depict frozen movements – witnesses of oppression, excess, loneliness and repressed memories- similar to the dreamt ending of real pictorial journeys.”

Dirk Luckow; in: Astrid Klein: transcendental homeless centralnervous; Publisher: Zwirner, Dorothea; Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne, 2018, p. 7