Jürgen Klauke is a major figure on the contemporary art scene. His influence resonated far beyond Germanborders as early as the 70s, when he started to dwell into existential turmoil and tackle the issue of gender identity, which would then go on to fascinate countless artists, from Cindy Sherman to David Bowie.
Throughout his forty-year career, Klauke has relentlessly stretched the limits of the photographic medium. He was one of the first to embrace photography as a means of artistic expression, and a pioneer in exhibiting large-scale prints in black and white when others were still favouring traditional formats, and then in colour when others still used black and white. He also led the way to new forms of representation such as the serie or the staged picture, directed with sobriety and drama.
Using his own body as a means of expression, his work also converges with the conceptual research of artists such as Robert Morris or Bruce Nauman, placing Klauke at the forefront of the “Body Art” movement, while influencing his impressive body of work linked to performance art.
“In contemporary art, Jürgen Klauke is a singular figure. His work sovereignly asserts itself in an art world that often leans toward superficiality through an aesthetic statement, which is not open to compromise. […] Especially in Europe, his influence on artistic thought is enormous. Thus, the emphasized consciousness of the body and the heightened sensibility of the threat to the physical as well as psychological integrity. […] is also a result of his artistic work. Constantly aiming to elucidate the relationships of human existence. [he] steps out of the frame of pure aesthetics with a mastering of the use of artistic tools.” Klaus Honnef
Among these tools is drawing, in ink or tempera, done with the aim of removing the dangers of superficiality and exploring the major themes of his work: from sexual identity to disabled love, going through the pangs of power.