FELIX KULTAU, Primrose Path @ STUDIO PICKNICK, Berlin
Extract from the publication INDEX 15 catalog (2015) about Felix Kultau:
Various types of wood (many of them precious), medium-density fiberboard, fluorescent tubes, aluminum, stainless steel, pages from magazines, monitors, DVD players, LEDs, goods display furniture: the Frankfurt-based artist Felix Kultau likes to work with materials we are all familiar with. We encounter them in shop windows, home improvement centers, department stores, public buildings, and in fact in the private sphere of our homes. Yet he finds unconventional and surprising ways to incorporate them into his art, using techniques of separation, isolation, and innovative recombination to adapt them to his purposes and amalgamating them in ensembles that are as beguiling as they are enigmatic and impossible to resolve.
„Predetermined“ (2012), for example, is precariously balanced between beauty and devastation, between anachronistic materiality and a presentation in the sleek contemporary style. A cracked American walnut wood block in the shape of a railway tie rests on a panel of white painted fiberboard, as though presented on a silver tray.
“Mind the Crack“ (2012), meanwhile, consists of two skateboard decks without wheels; made of dark green marble, they rest on delicate wenge wood cradles. A beholder incautious enough to act on the temptation to step on one would immediately destroy it. Kultau‘s is an art of imaginary or actual predetermined breaking points; the objects and installations he presents often imply their own fragility. In a sense, they do not really even need a subject to look at them. They exhibit their self-referential nature without bothering much with narrative digressions or symbolic baggage. Kultau holds up a mirror not to us, the viewers, but to the world of objects itself. Art that will eventually rid itself of the need for human eyes? In an age of increasingly tangible progress in the domain of artificial intelligence devoid of subjectivity, that is an equally fascinating and disconcerting perspective.
As Pamela Rosenkranz, whose work is on view in the Swiss pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale, has put it, „I think it‘s more interesting to talk about the material that determines the work than about the artist‘s identity.“ Her statement probably exemplifies the attitude of many young artists today. Like Rosenkranz, Felix Kultau is a member of what has been called the post-Internet generation.
In the fall and winter of 2013/2014, the exhibition “Speculations on Anonymous Materials“ at the Museum Fridericianum, Kassel, presented the work of two dozen artists who placed the primacy of the material – outlined by the Italian philosopher Maurizio Ferraris in his seminal “Manifesto of New Realism“ and a lecture on “Why Matter Matters“ he delivered in Kassel – at the center of their work. As Kultau’s exhibition “Parser“ at the Syker Vorwerk – Zentrum für zeitgenössische Kunst in Syke demonstrated to striking effect, his art, too, is fueled by the plurality and baffiing diversity of contemporary discourses in science, philosophy, aesthetics, pop, suband consumer cultures.
Felix Kultau was born in Germany in 1984. He graduated from the master class of Monika Baer at the Städelschule, Frankfurt, in 2015.
Text: Nicole Büsing und Heiko Klaas
Fotos by Trevor Good
FELIX KULTAU, Primrose Path
November 12 – 26, 2016
Potsdamer Straße 118