Patrick Heide Contemporary Art is delighted to present the second solo exhibition of Berlin based artist Thomas Kilpper in London.
Selected prints made from floor-cuts during his monumental State of Control project in Berlin will be shown in the gallery alongside drawings from a series entitled “Krauts”.
State of Control, Thomas Kilpper’s largest floor cut project up to date, was staged in collaboration with the n.b.k. (Neuer Berliner Kunstverein): a 800 sqm lino-cut carved into the cafeteria floor of the now empty Ministry of State Security (Stasi) building in Berlin with a team of wood cutters and assistants.
In State of Control Kilpper critically explores the building's history and the topic of state surveillance and repression from the Nazi era until today. Kilpper chose a particularly emotional aspect of German history since reunification, the GDR’s State Security, or Stasi, “a subject that still enrages and divides Germany today”, as Marius Babias, curator of the project, stated in the catalogue.
Ranging from political scenes to portraits, politicians and freedom fighters, spies and student protesters appear in Kilpper’s storyboard, each exemplifying and objectifying different aspects and camps of the historical subject-matter: Günter Guillaume, an advisor to German chancellor Willy Brandt, who was uncovered as a Stasi-operative or Benno Ohnesorg, the student who was shot by West Berlin policeman and Stasi collaborator Karl-Heinz Kurras. Horst Herold, Head of the German Federal Police in the 70s, who introduced dragnet investigation or anti-war activist and Marxist Rosa Luxemburg as well as British Nobel laureate, mathematician, philosopher and peace activist Bertrand Russell - they all feature in the large scale print making the history of that period come back to life.
A 800-square meter banner showing all motifs of the entire floor was displayed on the building's façade while individual prints were hung free floating in the reception hall above the cafeteria, a way of hanging that will be freely adapted in the gallery’s installation.
Kilpper is picking up the working method from his earlier projects "Don't Look Back" (Oberursel 1998) and particularly "The Ring" at Orbit House in London in 2000, from which over 20 large scale prints and almost half of the actual floor are in the collection of Tate Modern since 2001.
In his recently commenced series “Krauts” Kilpper transforms the faces of persons and contemporaries from his history related projects. Photo portraits of luminaries from politics, economy, arts and science, taken from books are overdrawn with bizarre shapes in ink and acrylics to create ironic distortions resulting in succinctly humorous comments about the period and its characters.
In 2010 Thomas Kilpper participated in the Lodz Biennale in Poland and Philigrafika in Philadelphia as well as the Tumult Art Festival in Denmark with a project of which a film will be shown in the gallery.
In 2011 Thomas Kilpper will be part of the presentation in the Danish Pavillion at the Venice Biennale.
A catalogue entitled “State of Control” was published by the Neue Berliner Kunsverein (n.b.k.) with articles by Marius Babias, chief curator of the n.b.k., and Eugen Blume, curator at the Berlin Contemporary Art Museum, Nationalgalerie Hamburger Bahnhof.
Thomas Kilpper lives and works in Berlin.