Meet the artist Klaus Killisch

If you had to describe yourself briefly in a couple of words, what would you say?

Punk-pop artist. The music that matches with my paintings can be found on the album “Surfer Rosa“ by The Pixies. Growing up as a free spirit in East Germany, popular culture was my passion and subversion my stylistic device. The most important stages of my life are captured in my paintings, because I consider painting as a form of self-representation – and zeitgeist sneaks in there, too.

DUO, 2013, Mischtechnik auf Leinwand, 250 x 200 cm

DUO, 2013, mixed technique on canvas, 250 x 200 cm

How did art get to you and how would you define your relationship to creativity?

My first experiences with art were sci-fi comic books from the 1950s… a friend stole them from his dad. They stood in sharp contrast to my parents’ affinity with high culture. As a child I found these stories (the title of the series was “Utopia“) extremely exciting. I copied the images. In retrospective, this fascination was the trigger for my lasting interestfor the art of painting and its power to incite imagination. I didn’t know that those comic books were considered “trash”. That was not a category for me and I didn’t think of assessing the “qualities“ of a work of art.For me the power and impact of paintings count, established by exciting compositions and in finding the right colors. And to be honest, I just like everything I’m fond of and that is able to express something: be it art, music, literature, fashion, comic books and film. For me, creativity is the energy that connects everything; it brings togetherwhat belongs together.

Die Welt ist eine Scheibe, 2013, Mischtechnik auf Leinwand, 100 x 80 cm

Die Welt ist eine Scheibe, 2013, mixed technique on canvas, 100 x 80 cm

Which techniques and media do you like to work with the most?

Paintings, collages and drawings with feathers are very important in my work. My style of painting does resemble the technique of sampling in today’s music. Selected images and materials, like vinyls, are integrated into my paintings. I try to transform music into visuals, and fashion ads get a completely new meaning in my art.

FarbKlang, 2012, Mischtechnik auf Leinwand, 110 x 110 cm

FarbKlang, 2012, mixed technique on canvas, 110 x 110 cm

machine says yes, 2012, Mischtechnik auf Leinwand, 110 x 110 cm

machine says yes, 2012, mixed technique on canvas, 110 x 110 cm

Looking back at your seemingly endless list of exhibitions and participations – what was your artistic highlight? Why?

Mainly two! The Venice Biennale in 1990: The exhibition at the Italian pavilion showed art from East and West Berlin. Right after the fall of the Berlin Wall, this was totally exciting and new – and never to be repeated in that constellation. Plus, the opening was super cool! Robert Rauschenberg and Yoko Ono were there – all very relaxed. Thesecond one is my exhibition “Bonjour Tristesse“ at the Kunstmuseum dkw Cottbus in 2015. In this very beautiful museum, a white cube in an old industrial building, my paintings looked phenomenal.

This is not a love song, 2016, Galerie Jochen Hempel, Berlin

Exhibition : This is not a love song, 2016, Galerie Jochen Hempel, Berlin

If you had to live in a painting, which one would it be?

Gladly inby French artist Gustave Moreau from 1894. He is one of my favorites. The painting has a strange vibe, dark but at the same time bright, it is the punk-pop of the 19th century. That fits me.

small talk, 2004, Mischtechnik auf Leinwand, 110 x 110 cm

small talk, 2004, mixed technique on canvas, 110 x 110 cm

Find out more

Klaus Killisch on Singulart

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