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