Paper paintings, canvas, backlights, sculpture. Curated by Irina Ilieva.
Exhibition: 16th–27th February 2017
Preview: Thu, 16 February, 6-8 pm
Opening: Friday, 17 February 2017, 7–11pm.
……………………The artist is present.
Artist Talk: Friday, 24 February 2017, 7-9pm
Venue: aquabitArt gallery, Auguststr. 35, 10119 Berlin-Mitte
Open: Tuesday–Sunday, noon–8pm and by appointment
Paula Klien uses monochromatic Chinese ink to create art works that reflect her mindscape in a transient world. Her lyrical abstractions exude a sense of fluidity, sombreness and raw elegance, inviting the mind to ponder over it, as if it held secrets or a deeper reality. From February 17 to 28, 2017 her first visual arts exhibit titled Invisibilities will be presented at aquabitArt Galerie in Berlin’s Auguststraße.
Having earned recognition and distinction especially in the campaign and editorial fashion circuit, established Brazilian photographer and multimedia artist Paula Klien returned to one of her first artistic manifestations: drawing and painting.
During a residency at Berlin’s Kunstgut Academy of Fine Arts in 2015, Klien discovered for herself a very personal technique using Chinese ink. She noticed the medium required her to give up complete control and accept an element of unpredictability, just as her new adventure was.
At times of personal upheaval and transition, the fluidity of ink provided Paula Klien with a new language in which to contemplate change and construct her work, while the monochromatic colour palette instilled a sense of calmness and clarity.
“Working with ink establishes a connection between the elements that permeate time and its inconsistency. It reflects the lack of control over events and announces the need to improvise when faced with unpredictabilities. It determines the possibility of choice at the meeting of options, incorporating stakes, gambling and surprise in the results,” says the artist.
Going back a millennium, Chinese ink painting has always been more than a means to depict reality and inspired contemplation, transcendence and spirituality. Traditionally, Chinese ink painters saw themselves as travelling in the metaphysical realm of the Dao. According to the prominent neo-Confucian philosopher Mou Zongzan (1909- 1995), in the realm of the Dao, when the human mind has stopped “knowing” and travels with the basic universal element Chi, it is able to perceive things in their original nature.
The transparency, versatility and fluidity of Chinese ink allows artists to embark on a free flow of expression that leads them to a higher state of spirituality or a state of “intellectual intuition”, which is aesthetic in nature (Mou, 1974).
Referencing the origin and spirit of the age-old medium of ink painting, Paula Klien’s recent works are similarly more about the process than the final image. Her works are abstract meditations on the precarious relation between permanence and fleeting efflorescence, between action and inaction and between the visible and invisible. Klien’s various creative journeys and transitions deeply inform her work as she explores transient notions of self and in particular, the ways in which the individual seeks to manifest self-identity through spontaneous play with the unpredictable, and the options that unfold.
A curiosity and deep faith in the invisible forces within and outside of us, and their relationship to change, transition and the irreversibility of our choices is the theme that runs through her body of work. Exploring the interplay of chaos, order and spontaneity, Klien’s ink paintings offer us an immersive intimacy in which the formation of identity is played out against the backdrop of constancy and transformation.
The process of working with the Chinese ink technique resembles the search of our new selves in times of transition: Expressive as ink painting can be, it also requires an element of control, our conscious interference and establishing of boundaries. Confronting the artist with herself in the face of unpredictability, the technique points out the fluidity of our identity, while revealing to her the power of change as an inexhaustible source of vitality, chance and legacy.
“Chinese ink was selected to represent imprecise, nebulous stains and everything that flows devoid of control in a transient world without defined structure. A material that interacts, proposes, accepts counter proposes, offers second chances and shows pathways. Fluid and sometimes uncontrollable, it reveals life as it really is. By contrast, on paper, the surface of choice, it offers the idea of permanence, of the ancient and calligraphic. Of the history we leave behind and that which remains.”
Invisibilities consists of ten large Chinese ink on paper paintings (114 x 83cm), one canvas (1,80 x 1,48 m) employing the same technique, one light installation (46×36 cm) with photographs of Chinese ink paintings and one three-dimensional foam sculpture painted in ink.
Although her name is related to photography, Paula Klien is a multimedia artist with earlier accomplishments in several artistic segments like music and dance. Her interest in photography began with fashion campaigns and editorials for stores and magazines, moving to exhibitions and published books of her own photo art projects. During her 10-year-long career she has photographed Brazil’s famous top-models and worked on sets of some of the most respected names of the industry. People Interest Me, a portrait book of 2014, was her last photographic work.
In 2015, the established Brazilian photographer quit fame, guaranteed bookings and glamorous parties in her hometown Rio de Janeiro in search for the unknown amidst the edgy urbanity and unadorned beauty of Berlin. During a 6-week-long residency at Berlin’s Kunstgut Academy of Fine Arts the multimedia artist returned to her roots of drawing and painting and started exploring the age-old medium of Chinese ink.
Meanwhile the artist has forged a new path in her work, creating two bodies of work using Chinese ink. Invisibilities comprises 13 single art works and will be shown this February at aquabitArt Galerie in Berlin. At the Artist Talk on 24 February, 2017 Paula Klien will allow us insight into her newest artistic venture, inspired by her transition from a busy fashion photographer to her calmer life as a painter. We kindly request advanced registration until 22 February, 2017.
Author: Kristina Thomas