Juergen Klauke is a unique figure in the art world. His inventions are nowadays taken for granted, and have signifi- cantly influenced art over the last 40 years. He is a pioneer of multimedia and interdisciplinary artistic exploration, whose work fascinates and irritates in equal measure, oscillating between the poles of attraction and repulsion.
As an artist, Klauke was one of the first to use photography as a means of artistic expression. He determinedly navigates its possibilities and limitations so comprehensively, so variedly and unlike any other, that he discovers new artistic territories. He raises the question of gender difference more emphatically and radically than anyone else, highlighting the problem of identity with extremely provocative images. Since 1970, Klauke has been working with the human body as the object and vehicle for his art, at the same time as Robert Morris and Bruce Nauman, and has become one of the most prominent representatives of “Body Art”. Klauke has introduced methods of repre- sentation to the visual arts such as the series and the tableau, which were unheard of at the time. By conceptuali- sing the medium and making it such an immanent theme in his work, he paved the way for ‘staged photography’.
Klauke has introduced methods of representation to the visual arts such as the series and the tableau, which were unheard of at the time. By conceptualising the medium and making it such an immanent theme in his work, he paved the way for ‘staged photography’. The fundamental themes of Klauke’s work are: the break- down of human communication, losing the reason for living, the crippling emptiness and boredom of an un- fulfilled existence, the suggestive threats to mental and physical identity through the power of the media, and the mechanisation of all areas of life, not excluding the human body. When Klauke does move away from this agenda, at times through irony, he does so to express despair rather than to create distance. This iro- ny does not evoke liberated laughter in the viewer, but laughter that quickly dies down into a sudden sense of self-awareness: when looking at the ‘other’ in Klauke’s art, the viewer encounters themselves as strangers.