Author Archives: Adrian Klaus Roetzscher

Artist Spotlight: Elisabeth Kraus

Sometimes the moral duty of the artist, whether conscious or not, is to wrestle with the soul of society and the pitfalls of human nature. Often we deal with larger issues by turning inward and examining our inner worlds. In this case, the inner world of current Pilotenkueche resident Elisabeth Kraus is rich with analysis, emotion and playful exploration. In the last few years she has been on a winding path led by intuition, pursuing art inspired adventures across the globe. Most recently this path has landed her in Leipzig, a burgeoning cultural hub.

Elisabeth’s inquisitive spirit seeps into her practice through the themes and motifs she engages in as well as through the mediums she experiments with. This means she is constantly analyzing and searching, always observing and at times simply waiting. Her works encompass themes of societal responsibility, nature and humanity, and human nature in some of its most extreme forms. The common thread that keeps her engaged is the power of empathy as a catalyst for change. The result of this mixture of inspiration and analysis is a broad spectrum ranging from sculpture and sound installation to conceptual pieces and performance, and, more recently, a return to painting. This all amounts to ‘creating a playground for all the senses’. This playground becomes the sensorial vocabulary through which Elisabeth communicates.

This kind of ‘playground’ also translates into a way of being. Through her extensive travels with an openness to surprise and a flexible sense of the meaning of home she has exhibited throughout Germany and has found a nurturing creative and social network in Beirut, where she connected with the Haven for Artists – a non-profit arts organization bolstering the underground art scene in Lebanon and the Middle East. At this safe space and residency she was able to settle a bit and create a meaningful network through which her art practice could thrive.

photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program

Several of the works that arise from Elisabeth’s idiosyncratic sensorial vocabulary take the form of interactive sculptural pieces. Most notably, a recurring project, are the small spheres she makes cast with an image of her face on them that fit snugly in the palm of one’s hand. They are meant to bounce around, move from hand to hand, and occasionally gaze into the participants eyes. The literal bouncing and transient nature of these balls becomes a direct metaphor for the nomadic lifestyle that Elisabeth has been living and all of the ups and downs that it entails. Many more of her works deal with more outward societal concerns. With the ways in which humans transmit knowledge and culture and how this is filtered, understood and absorbed.

During Elisabeth’s time with Pilotenkueche she will keep her spirit open to inspiration and continue investigating these recurring themes through her work while also experimenting with different media and processes. Upcoming, as well, is a collaborative sound installation piece on-site at Kunstraum Kesselhaus, in the artist’s hometown of Bamberg where she will be working with past collaborator and sound designer Paul Hauptmeier.

The expanse and depth of Elisabeth’s experimentation comes from a passion for knowledge, an openness of spirit and an inclination towards play. It is all of these traits that, when considered, become the portrait of a person looking for answers. Although certain questions may not be answered in the process, the right questions are being asked.

You can see Elisabeth’s work in the following Pilotenkueche International Art Program shows:

Elsewhere a Blue Line and the Absurdity of a Ghost on a Stone 

Vernissage: Sat 18 May 2019, 7PM
Open: Sun 19 – Sun 2 June 2019, 10AM – 6PM (closed Mondays)
Location: Kunstkraftwerk, Saalfelder Str. 8, 04179 Leipzig

Wrestling with Impermanence 

Vernissage: Fri 21 June 2019, 7PM
Open: Sat 22 – Wed 26 June 2019 1PM-5PM
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany
Performance: To be announced

Artist Spotlight: Kate Jones

Chains suspend a mattress from the ceiling. Paintings of pinks, purples and deep reds surround me. I am sitting in Kate’s studio. But don’t be fooled. They depict dystopian nightmares of sacrifice, torture and dark fairy kingdoms. Taxidermy, or ‘re-purposed dead matter’ as she calls it, is strewn amongst the chaos of paint and paint brushes. Kate’s atelier is an enclosed space of rampant creative exploration.

She begins to tell me about her interests in esotericism and occult mythologies. This often forms the basis of the subject matter of her work as well as influencing her methods of production. Kate tells me that her technique is indicative of automatism – a Surrealist term which denotes subconscious expression. Her paintings are often completed in a trans-like state in which she uncovers information from a more celestial source.

The South-Carolinian born artist spent most of her life back and forth from California, with the exception of completing her undergrad at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Describing her aesthetic as very ‘Californian Macabre’, she tells me how her work is influenced by her surroundings. She uses the term ‘Genuis Loci’- a shamanic term of Latin origins, literally translating to ‘the spirit of the land’.

Often undertaking research in the form of ‘field work’, so to speak, this then informs her practice, and at times, becomes part of the work itself. She tells me of some video work she created at the Isis Oasis Lodge in Northern California using an analogue camera. The old-cult is now a non-profit and an animal sanctuary which carries out Egyptian rituals and religious ceremonies devoted to the Egyptian goddess Isis.

She continues to tell me of another trip to the former home of Alistair Crowley at Abbey of Thelema, Cefalu, Italy. Crowley was a mystic and occultist, infamous for his school of ‘magick’ and semi-satanic rituals. The space was used as a commune by him and 5 other artists, who painted many disturbing images on the walls. In 1923 Mussolini expelled Crowley from Italy and the murals were to be painted over. But in the 1980’s an avant-garde occult filmmaker named Kenneth Anger stripped the walls to reveal the paintings once again. Kate painted her own work on the walls; describing the result as a kind of ‘astro- collaboration’ between Crowley, Mussolini, Anger and herself. ‘It was like a forgotten piece of art history which I asserted myself into’, she comments.

photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program

Most recently, Kate visited the town of Quendlinburg, which resides about an hour away from Leipzig, on the foothills of the Harz Mountains. The festival of Walpurgisnacht takes place every year during Beltane, or the Spring equinox. Folk magic and early modern witchcraft remains prominent in the cultural landscape of the region. Although she describes the festival as a kind of elaborate Halloween carnival, her work is highly indicative of the iconography of witchcraft, and it place within post-modern society.

Witchcraft is historically conflated with social deviance, promiscuity and anti-establishment. Today the complexities of gender politics are rifer than ever. With constant battles against social and institutional inequality, the notion of the witch has struck a chord with the modern woman. Kate is interested in exploring ways in which the archetype of the witch can be used to empower notions of femininity.

As the first group exhibition at Kunskraftwerk is rapidly approaching, what can we expect from Kate? Her work continues to explore the numinous realms of ritual and occultism through both painting and video work.  She’s also interested in exploring the ontological premise of her work. Stylistically, her painterly technique is quick, loose and expressive. She likens this with impermanence, forging a link between the temporal faculties of the art object with the decay of matter.

Now we know where the taxidermies come in.

Written by: Ellisha Walkden

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You can see Kate’s work in the following Pilotenkueche International Art Program shows:

Elsewhere a Blue Line and the Absurdity of a Ghost on a Stone 

Vernissage: Sat 18 May 2019, 7PM
Open: Sun 19 – Sun 2 June 2019, 10AM – 6PM (closed Mondays)
Location: Kunstkraftwerk, Saalfelder Str. 8, 04179 Leipzig

Wrestling with Impermanence 

Vernissage: Fri 21 June 2019, 7PM
Open: Sat 22 – Wed 26 June 2019 1PM-5PM
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany
Performance: To be announced

Artist Spotlight: Louis Bouvier

Louis Bouvier has been steadily building a world all his own. Based in Montreal, he takes influence from traditional culture, the natural world and design elements. He, then, matches and layers form as well as aesthetic preference from different time periods in a collage based process to see what emerges. The end result is an anachronistic harmony, a harmony achieved not only by fitting the right forms and concepts together, but through technical execution. His graphite and colored pencil renderings shine in a muted texture, pulling the eye in and keeping it wandering within the frame of the paper. This pushing forward of ideas and connecting of seemingly disparate elements from nature and culture creates a sort of time capsule within his works and, ultimately, a search for a common thread.

This all comes from a curiosity about the human experience, how can we distill so much input, inspiration, and sensorial stimulation into something that makes sense? Does the human experience have to make sense? Bombardment of visual language, advertisements, and screen time is what influences Louis’ curiosity. We can bend genres of music just as we can mix and match visual cultures and differing aesthetics. It is this playfulness that keeps Louis exploring.

This exploration began while attending the University of Quebec in Montreal, where he received his master’s degree in visual arts and media. Louis found time inbetween silkscreen printing and drawing to experiment with plaster, thinking more about sculpture and installation and how they fit into his fine illustrative style. This focus on form mixed with the concept of layering inherent to screen printing became a perfect conceptual starting point for the way Louis’ work has developed throughout the years.

photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program

While Louis struggles, at times, with juggling different styles and an impulse towards change, he fits visual elements into his pieces in a fixed way that beautifully encapsulates his philosophy on art making in general – let things flow in an open manner and see what gravitates together, then allow them to create their own meaning.

During his residency at Pilotenkueche he will be expanding his visual vocabulary by sourcing images and forms not only from photographs that he has taken, but from sculptures and installations that he creates. In this way he can both make more focused and nuanced connections between his work and the outside world but between the works themselves. This also allows him to open up the spaces in which his works are displayed – by mixing sculptural and installation elements with more traditional feeling works on paper he allows space for the viewer to not be guided by circumnavigating the space but to let the eye wander and allowing the mind and body to follow. In this self-described ‘research mode’ he will be finding new ways of producing while using the techniques he has so adeptly honed in new and challenging ways. There are surprises within Louis’ work, and he wants you to find them, one need only look – with a little bit of curiosity.

written by Adrian Klaus Rotzscher

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See Louis’s work in his solo exhibition:

Stepping out of the Echo Chamber

Vernissage 31 May 2019 8PM
Open: Wednesdays til 19 June
Location: Helmut, Kohlgartenstr 51, Leipzig

and in the following Pilotenkueche International Art Program shows: 

Elsewhere a Blue Line and the Absurdity of a Ghost on a Stone 

Vernissage: Sat 18 May 2019, 7PM
Open: Sun 19 – Sun 2 June 2019, 10AM – 6PM (closed Mondays)
Location: Kunstkraftwerk, Saalfelder Str. 8, 04179 Leipzig

Wrestling with Impermanence 

Vernissage: Fri 21 June 2019, 7PM
Open: Sat 22 – Wed 26 June 2019 1PM-5PM
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany
Performance: To be announced

Artist Spotlight: Daniel Long

Daniel is a master of cognitive illusions and high-tech wizardry. While in some works he combines technology with the art of deception, in others, he unveils the material apparatus of the medium and its ideological constructs. Using the technique of projection mapping, a skill he has refined over the course of eight years, his current project focuses on providing a critique of man’s dependence on machine learning and artificial intelligence .

What exactly is projection mapping? Projection mapping is the process of transforming regular facades, such as industrial landscapes, into surfaces for the projection of imagery. Using light as his paintbrush, brick walls, glass and other surfaces become his canvas. Daniel uses live animation and programming software in order to create complex visual forms, altering various parameters in order to portray the illusion of movement in space.

Daniel was born in New York City to a family of second generation refugees of Vietnamese and Cambodian descent. Decisively, it was when he began to travel that his creative pursuits really took off. He lived in Spain, Denmark and traveled around Southeast Asia before settling in Vietnam in 2011. It was there that he became involved with a close knit artistic community which gave him the momentum to start creating.

He began experimenting with convergences of art and technology and various inter-media practices. While projection mapping usually involves the projection of pre-digitally rendered imagery, Daniel became interested in the ‘live’ aspect of real-time animation. This places the work on another ontological plane. It exists only in that moment, thus introducing an element of performativity to his practice. An example of such work involved painting with dyes onto the surface of an overhead projector; this would then be transposed into live visuals on a screen.

He was also interested in exploring the interplay of audio-visual narratives via the creation of immersive experiences which combined multi-sensory elements. In 2013, he co-founded the company Live Audio Visual (LAV). LAV collaborated with local events and electronic musicians through creating live visual effects. In the electronic dance music community, it has become increasingly common for DJ’s to accompany their music with synced visuals, paving the way for more compelling live performances. However, when Daniel began collaborating on these projects, the idea was relatively new.

But it was the ability of illusion augmented technology to play on his surrealist fascination with magic which intrigued Daniel the most. Perhaps the most apt example of this was his Infinity Box. It was an immersive sculptural installation involving moving LED lights and multiple mirrors, creating the optical illusion of cosmic space. In past events, he has also mapped a series of moving images onto a glass window, as well as constructed 3D geometry such as cylinders and cubes. This involved the technical precision of aligning the parameters of the projector with the object. Laughingly, he says the resulting effect, “really freaked people out.”

Daniel also experimented with the art of anti-illusion. He began manipulating video tapes through bending and breaking the film while it was playing, creating static and rollover effects. This filmic reflexivity, similar to structuralist and avant-garde cinema practices of the 1920s and 1930s, worked to demystify the viewing process, exposing the material apparatus which underpins its production.

In 2016 Daniel moved back to New York, where a talented painter named Cruz was to become his mentor. This was to have a significant impact on the conceptual trajectory of his art. He began to focus more closely on ideas and what lies beyond the aesthetic.

So what now? His on-going projects with Pilotenkueche will take a decisive step away from animation through the creation of a short film. This film intends to explore modern ramifications of technology, while continuing to experiment with the art of illusion through projection mapping techniques. 

Written by: Ellisha Walkden

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You can see Daniel’s work in the following Pilotenkueche International Art Program shows:

Elsewhere a Blue Line and the Absurdity of a Ghost on a Stone 

Vernissage: Sat 18 May 2019, 7PM
Open: Sun 19 – Sun 2 June 2019, 10AM – 6PM (closed Mondays)
Location: Kunstkraftwerk, Saalfelder Str. 8, 04179 Leipzig

Wrestling with Impermanence 

Vernissage: Fri 21 June 2019, 7PM
Open: Sat 22 – Wed 26 June 2019 1PM-5PM
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany
Performance: To be announced

Artist Spotlight: Coffee Kang

Coffee Kang is an artist encompassing many different worlds, all moving and shifting seemingly under her feet but she takes it in stride. It’s all impermanent, all part of the process. Having moved from China to Los Angeles to complete a Masters in photo media from the California Institute of the Arts she is now based in Southern California where she focuses her body of work on varying situations – how do we change spaces, how do spaces change us and how does culture affect these changes? As she creates meaning through her work we are invited to ask our own questions: how does process inform meaning? What is the importance of performance in relation to achieving a specific goal? These themes come up in Coffee’s time-based works, and so much more.

As she navigates her personal narrative using photo media, video and primarily performance centered pieces, the temporality of the medium helps to inform her personal and cultural historicity while trying to connect to a grander whole. This fluctuation, or state of flowing, relates back to how we move in certain spaces and how our culture affects perception as well as physical space. In this connection comes an exploration of inherited culture, identity and the power of the individual within a system.

While Coffee’s work changes in form it is comfortably placed within a tradition of performance and process, ultimately landing somewhere in the conceptualization and activities of Fluxus. In this established mode of creating ‘process matters more than the result’. This is the crux of the meaning making. It is not about a product, or even some intangible end result. More important, here, is the journey in the making. The performance or action is not to achieve something but to do something.

photos by PILOTENKUECHE or courtesy of artist

These ideas are brought to life in her past works and performances, most notably in her temporal work The Funeral, wherein she performed a funeral for a previous piece. This work, titled Days in the Matchbox, was sentenced to death by a necessary move from her studio. In this way the artist created meaning out of a daily life stressor. She used the end result of moving out of her studio as a catalyst for meaning making through performance while reanimating an older piece for one final action.

In her seemingly permanent state of impermanence, or ‘current of changing’, Coffee Kang finds herself in Leipzig amidst a group of international artists all creating their own meaning within the context of the host city and more specifically within the Pilotenkueche artist residency. In this light the themes she works with can shine – they can flourish not by providing answers but by leading viewers and participants through the construction of purpose that happens within a group, within a new city, within the very process of critical thinking in both art making and art viewing.

In an attempt to explore her subconscious self, she will be looking to the stars that hang above Leipzig and the White Elster river that cuts through it. By connecting with the water flowing through the city she connects with all of the different bodies of water she has resided near, by connecting with the stars she connects not only to her inner self but to all of us that reside beneath them.

written by Adrian Klaus Rotzscher

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See Coffee’s work in the following Pilotenkueche International Art Program shows: 

Elsewhere a Blue Line and the Absurdity of a Ghost on a Stone 

Vernissage: Sat 18 May 2019, 7PM
Open: Sun 19 – Sun 2 June 2019, 10AM – 6PM (closed Mondays)
Location: Kunstkraftwerk, Saalfelder Str. 8, 04179 Leipzig

Wrestling with Impermanence 

Vernissage: Fri 21 June 2019, 7PM
Open: Sat 22 – Wed 26 June 2019 1PM-5PM
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany
Performance: To be announced