Luhring Augustine is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings and drawings by German artist Johannes Kahrs. This exhibition marks Kahrs’ first solo exhibition at Luhring Augustine and his gallery debut in the United States. These new works, completed over the last year, continue his interest in rendering images culled from news publications, documentary photography and film stills, as well as from his own personal archive.
In choosing photography and video as his source material, Kahrs forces the viewer to grapple with the inherent ambiguity of these media that often distort reality and lend false authenticity to the events depicted. He selects images that feature physically confrontational, highly sexualized, political, and even violent subject matter. By intentionally removing crucial facts and distinguishing markers, Kahrs creates a new and suggestive take on the original material that allows him to broach difficult subjects in a detached yet wholly subjective manner. Rather than exploiting the viewer’s immediate emotional reaction to these recorded events and stills, he explores selective visual nuances of these incidents by blurring, cropping and distorting the source imagery to dissociate it from its original context. As suggested in the title of the exhibition, the figures depicted become passive subjects and the violence of the original images is channeled through the voyeurism of the viewer’s gaze.
Johannes Kahrs was born in 1965 in Bremen, Germany, and currently lives and works in Berlin. His work is owned by numerous museums and institutions worldwide, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Centre Pompidou, Paris, Hamburger Bahnhoff, Berlin, and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Recent exhibitions of his work include solo shows at GAMeC, Bergamo, Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art, London, and Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin as well as the Painting of Modern Life exhibition curated by Ralph Rugoff for the Hayward Gallery in London. In Spring of 2009 FRAC Auvergne will stage a solo show of recent drawing and paintings, accompanied by a full catalogue. Johannes Kahrs is represented by Zeno X, Antwerp and Luhring Augustine, New York.