At the outset of our collaboration with Jürgen Klauke, we present the artist’s early photographic works, that may well be among the most important artistic statements from a time when deep social changes were looming on the horizon. Klauke, born in 1943, has been living and working in Cologne since 1968, and from 1994 to 2008 was professor at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne. He has exhibited e.g. at the Hamburger Kunsthalle, the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, the Art Museum Lucerne, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. From 23/10/10 to 06/03/11, the ZKM Karlsruhe (Centre for Art and Media), in collaboration with the Museum der Moderne Mönchsberg Salzburg, presents the exhibition Aesthetische Paranoia. Fotoarbeiten, Video- und Sprachräume (Aesthetic Paranoia. Photographic Works, Video and Word Rooms) 2004–2010.

Jürgen Klauke has done pioneering work in the field of body art and the critical examination of socially standardised gender identities and social patterns of behaviour. At a time when art and theory discourses were not yet determined by body art and gender studies, Klauke, in his works from the early seventies onwards, systematically examined the basic patterns of sexual behaviour, predetermined by our culture, and challenged them by way of his often provocative photographs. In these, quite uncompromisingly, he used the body – generally his own – as a central medium of expression. Beyond the topics of sexuality and society, human existence in general, with its omnipresent abysses, has been the main focus of his work to the present day. By using everyday materials as a means of composing pictures, Jürgen Klauke succeeds in casting a concentrated glance at the absurdity of life and the systemic collisions between individual and institution. (from a press release by ZKM Karlsruhe)

Jürgen Klauke has chosen photography for his means of expression in order to look behind the facades. A long time before he created his first performance, in 1975, he began, in 1970, with his photographic compositions, such as Illusion or Selfperformance from 1972/73. At the end of the seventies, the artist himself, as a protagonist in his own art, steps into the background. The body from now on is used merely attributively. It disappears completely, or the figure itself is used as a static object.