2005 Metamorphosis or Confrontation

Metamorphosis or Confrontation

The University Museum and Art Gallery (UMAG)
The University of Hong Kong

May, 20 – December 12, 2020

Metamorphosis or Confrontation is Tobias Klein’s most extensive solo exhibition to date on the theme of Digital Craftsmanship.  By exploring applications of 3D printing in architecture, art, design and interactive media installations, Klein has created a fusion of contemporary CAD/CAM technologies built from natural materials, found objects, and cultural historical references. In his work, Klein develops the emerging discipline of Digital Craftsmanship as an operational synthesis between digital and physical tools and techniques.

The exhibition traces Klein’s work over the past decade and is structured in four distinct areas: Bones, Masks, Mutations, and Forces. Each theme unravels the relationships and evolution of the artist’s body of work, while at the same time demanding that visitors take a position of negotiation, evolution, or confrontation.

The first room, Bones, serves as a general introduction. Full of references and models that were both inspiration and source material for the artist, the space has been transformed into a cabinet of curiosities (Wunderkammer).

The second room, Masks, is dedicated to a single work. Inspired by the intricate detail and cultural allusions of Cantonese Opera masks, this interactive installation transforms the visitor into a participatory player within a landscape of discoveries and unexpected moments. Mutations, the third exhibition space, places three different works in a stimulating constellation—The Invisible HumanMelted Proportions and Witnesses—while thematising a shift in time and space.

In the final room, Forces, Klein establishes a dialogue between traditional forms of Chinese wood carving, experimental glass blowing and the ornamentation of digital transformations.

Seen as a whole, the individual rooms establish myriad readings. On the one hand, they allow for an understanding of the mastery of both digital and analogue materials while expressing the ability to apply interpretative and communicative techniques between old and new. This entire exhibition may be regarded as an extended Wunderkammer—a total work of art—which impressively presents the rich tapestry of Digital Craftsmanship.


Florian Knothe& Harald Kraemer