1912 Identities & Fractures

Identities & Fractures

Goethe-Institut Hong Kong
Goethe-Gallery and Black Box Studio

12.12.2019 – 25.01.2020

In his first solo exhibition at the Goethe-Institut in Hong Kong, the German artist Tobias Klein shows a diverse range of his oeuvre, set as a series of counter-positions and inspiring comparisons. Transformations, Metamorphoses, Reshaping – Tobias Klein’s works reveal a continuous transitory state of being. He articulates this state by making visible processes that function as non-simultaneity in simultaneity. One could say that Tobias Klein is a chronicler of different moments of growth and of movements in space and time.

These can take place in extremely slow processes, such as the slow growth of crystalline structures shown in the works ‘Slow Selfie III’ and ‘Slow Selfie V’. In the darkness of the Black Box Studio, two heads are floating in mid-air, looking at each other. Crystalline metastases deform the head shapes to varying degrees and impressively reveal the slow process behind the works. In contrast to this, the video animation belonging to the heads enlivens the room by continuously reshaping the perception of the head silhouette. Both speeds – the growth of the crystals as well as the extremely fast sequence of the individual cuts of the animation – are hardly recognisable for our perception.

The interplay results in a dynamic which makes the borderline experience possible in the first place. In the work ‘Inversive Embodiment’ two different moments of the same form represent the temporal sequence of a transformation process as it happens. The attraction of the works ‘Glass Mutations III’ as well as ‘Ghost and Flower’ lies, on the one hand in the interplay of the different materials, and on the other, in the different resulting geometric shapes and their changing surface structure. In this, another concept of temporality is shown, which expresses both the frozen moment and the leading to it. The exterior exposes the interior and becomes the extended mirror image of a possible formal language. The interior is finally turned to the outside and turns out to be a microcosmic

The material combinations that Tobias Klein presents to us are also unusual. 3D printed polymer skulls lose their shape and contour due to crystalline foreign bodies. Smooth glass forms are surrounded by vegetable tendrils. Sections of Hong Kong Park scanned in 3D become lenticular prints and thus images of a continuous movement in space. The colourful lenticular prints ‘Simulacra Naturans’ and ‘Mask lenticular’ add a third time component, the time of the moving observer in space. Without the wandering participation of the observer, the complex pictorial worlds remained silent, the space dead.

‘Vessels of Vanitas’, is based on strong symmetries and the incredibly dense ornamental language, which reminds us of the plant morphology of Erich Haeckel. In ‘Vessels of Vanitas’, too, this unusual approach to dealing with time can be found in the work of Tobias Klein. The object appears to be a summary of the quantity of living ornaments Haeckel has collected.

Dr Harald Kraemer