JOSEF KARL: hIDe review iDNA preview

The Munich-based artist Josef Karl (born 1974) inte­gra­tes both his model’s per­so­nal iden­ti­fi­ca­tion cards and pas­sports as well as their gene­tic mate­rial into his pho­to­graphs in order to con­vey each piece of art as uni­que and per­man­ently esta­blish the por­trayed sit­ter as an indi­vi­dual. In addi­tion to selec­ted works from the famous series Beauty Con­ser­va­tion (2011) and hIDE(2013) ), six mixed-media assem­bla­ges from the new series „iDNA (2015) will be on view for the first time in this com­pre­hen­sive exhibition.

7 Janu­ary 2016 – 6 Febru­ary 2016

On 7 Janu­ary begin­ning at 7 pm all are invi­ted to the opening recep­tion at the gal­lery. The artist will be present.

The fol­lo­wing works are pre­sen­ted in the show:

JOSEF KARL: hIDE review iDNA preview

Only a pas­sport or an iden­ti­fi­ca­tion card can pro­vide offi­cial iden­tity, faci­li­tate geo­gra­phi­cal ties, form the basis for upco­m­ing life choices as well as govern­men­tal inter­ven­tion, and is ulti­mately cru­cial to the exis­tence of an indi­vi­dual in modern society. The Munich-based artist Josef Karl (born 1974) addres­ses this dif­fi­cult issue which has become a com­mon theme throug­hout his work. Karl wants not­hing less than to pre­serve the indi­vi­dual in his art. To this extent, he inte­gra­tes expi­red iden­ti­fi­ca­tion cards and gene­tic mate­rial such as hair as well as objects tou­ched by the models. On one hand his images and objects prove them­sel­ves to be tri­bu­tes to memento mori based on the fact that the indi­vi­dua­li­zed art­works respond to the ques­tion about the whe­re­abouts of people in mass society. On the other hand they are recep­ta­cles, in the tra­di­tion of reli­qua­ries, whose con­t­ents authen­ti­cate the exis­tence of the saint with the pas­sing of time.
Karl’s pho­to­graphs of female beau­ties go far beyond the mime­tic func­tion of the medium, as the models engage in slightly lasci­vious poses that initi­ally ack­now­ledge every cli­che of the male, voy­eu­ristic gaze. Howe­ver, his point of depar­ture is always an actual event that has taken place in the life of the model. He ero­ti­cally char­ges the scene through pho­to­gra­phic sta­ging. Finally, he crea­tes a rein­ter­pre­ta­tion by means of an over­pain­ting to devise an enig­ma­tic nar­ra­tive and pic­to­rial expe­ri­ence. The models’ actual iden­ti­fi­ca­tion cards that are incor­po­ra­ted into the images signal the dignity of those por­trayed as an indi­vi­du­als and esta­blish an inti­mate bond bet­ween the artist, the model and the owner of the image.