Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
After venturing to the limits of representation in recent years, and occasionally even exceeding them into abstraction, Franziska Klotz returns to a style of painting more oriented towards the object in her new works. At the center of our exhibition is a group of nine paintings that depict faces of people who convey an air of seriousness and dignity, but above all self-confidence. Her work shows the subject of the work and the paint on the surface of the canvas at the same time – strange and yet familiar, close yet remote.
A closer look reveals the specific features of these faces: the models of Franziska Klotz’s paintings are not sitting face-to-face with the artist, but portraits of people painted on thin wooden panels, who have not been amongst the living for nearly two thousand years. Painted by unknown artists in Egypt, these Roman-style paintings portray upper class people who were originally entombed with a panel on their faces, mummified corpses wrapped in thin gauze strips of cloth. The face of the deceased would thus be preserved for the afterlife in its undisturbed beauty and individuality as a painted memory of youth, of beauty, of elegance, of wisdom ... in short, of life in its diversity and uniqueness.
The fractures, the injuries and the imperfections, which these double-painted faces have, are explained from this process. The paintings on view at ‘Memories of Tomorrow’ are neither traces of modern gestural- expressive painting, nor depictions of wounds of two-thousand-year-old faces; rather, these paintings are the traces that history has made on the wooden panels and the depictions of that in these paintings.
Franziska Klotz’s mummy portraits are pictures of pictures, that take the image painted on the wooden panel as seriously as its history as an object. The works of Franziska Klotz portray an object that is itself a painting: a wooden panel bearing a painted portrait of a person. These portraits are a reflection on painting itself. Above all, however, they are a deeply felt reflection on the nature of time. Guided by questions such as "What is eternity?" Or "What remains?". The ephemeral nature of these paintings is confronted with eternal and everlasting culture. With the realism of the depiction by Klotz – the two-thousand-year-old portraits on their wooden panels and the canvas paintings of these portraits by Klotz – remind us that in the end, art is victorious and is what remains.
The original purpose of the portraits: the adornment of the embalmed and thus already artificially processed body, is a victory of culture over nature, which here, is made eternal by art. Franziska Klotz uses these works of art, with their own two-thousand-year history, to make her own paintings that are much more than a mere image. Her handwriting, her individual stroke of the brush, is just as noticeable as the handwriting of the painter who painted the portrait of an Egyptian in Roman style on a thin wooden panel almost two thousand years ago.
Just as time has left its mark on the Egyptian artifact, Franziska Klotz's recent paintings tell the story of an artist who, in the digital age, is grappling with an object that stands the test of time. It’s not the eternal youth of Dorian Gray that can be seen in Franziska Klotz's works, nor the horrors of the portrait, which has aged so terribly in his stead, but the dignity of aging and a respect for history, for the individual as well as the entirety of humanity.
A respect for things characterizes the other works in the exhibition; with paintings of: plants, a letter, the façade of a house, a sleeping human or a door similar to a pin board with its multitude of objects. Representation is taken seriously in all works, but at the same time the free play of colors and forms is not abandoned. Painting remains material, and a painting is always more than just its motif. The object in the painting is both: an image of a transitory object, as well as the subject of these works of art.
Franziska Klotz was awarded the Max Ernst Scholarship of the city of Brühl after studying painting at the Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee. At the invitation of the Goethe-Institut, she received a scholarship from the Cultural Academy Tarabya in Istanbul, where she stayed for six months in 2015 and to which she returned for a two-month stay at the beginning of 2018. Her works are exhibited worldwide, including the 4th Moscow International Biennial for Young Art 2014, the 56th October Salon in Belgrade 2016 and the Fanø Art Museum in Denmark in 2017. Should you require further information, or wish to interview the artist, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We are happy to provide printable images on request.