The German sound and media artist Claus Böhmler’s (1939-2017) work puts modern image-producing machines, algorithms and the relationship between man and technology into perspective and explores with humor, anarchism and poetic strain, the tension between the digital and the analogue. His art makes practical use of technologies such as typewriters, photocopiers, cassette recorders, record players, Super 8 films, cameras, radios, film or slide projectors and video, which he combines and juxtaposes with drawing, painting, sculpture, graphics and performance.
The exhibition presents selected pages from the publication “Smart Artist” conveying a large number of Böhmler’s works in print. Including illustrations and text works, as well as animated films, video and audio compositions, which can be activated by visitors by scanning QR codes on their smartphone or on a tablet borrowed in the exhibition. The musical, the rhythmic, the time of sounds appears when the book is accessed as a score – everything with Böhmler is capable of finally becoming sound, singing, noise, music or percussion.
Another work in the exhibition is the video “Schallplattenarchiv auf Video” (1987), which shows how a record is placed on a record player and how the tonearm moves inward until the next record is put on. With the video, Böhmler invites us to patiently observe the grooves in the record and watch the media work – something that most of us would probably not spend time on otherwise. It is concise and precise humor that takes the medium literally/present the medium in the simplest of ways. The German art historian Michael Glasmeier has edited the publication “Smart Artist” as well as curated this exhibition. He has worked with sound and media art, here, especially the late work of Claus Böhmler, in a large number of publications.
Claus Böhmler studied in Stuttgart and Düsseldorf in the 1960ies and was a former student of Josef Beuys. In almost 30 years (until 2015) he was a professor at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Hamburg. His last major solo exhibition was in 2001 at Kunsthalle Fridericianum in Kassel and in 1999 at Kunsthalle Hamburg.
Opening and book presentation by Michael Glasmeier: November 20, 2019 at 7 pm
An exhibition on the occasion of the publication of the book “Claus Böhmler – Smart Artist” (edited by Michael Glasmeier, Naho Kawabe and Nora Sdun, Textem Verlag Hamburg, 2019)
Smart Artist is not only an artist’s book, but can also be understood as a handbook, which not only conveys the most diverse tasks of Böhmler as a media craftsman in pictures, but also – updated to the latest state of media achievment by QR code – mediates them in film and sound by simple scanning using a tablet or smartphone app.
Textem Verlag and Galerie Renate Kammer present the book Smart Artist by Claus Böhmler. The art historian Michael Glasmeier, who also wrote the catalogue text for the book, will talk about the contents of the book. In order to show the virulence of the Böhmler method, there will also be a “gift table” where former students of Böhmler will display materials, paperwork and tracks of all kinds – a mental scavenger hunt in honour of Claus Böhmler.
“Boehmler talks and drinks and eats and sounds and draws and thinks and hears and sees in the same moment.” (Michael Erlhoff)
The media artist Claus Böhmler was already “smart” when Steve Jobs was still working for Atari. Böhmler’s interests as an artist are not so much the development of algorithms as the practical use of typewriters, photocopiers, cassette recorders, record players, Super 8 films, cameras, radios, film or slide projectors, video, i.e. the media with which a maximum of art can be produced extremely economically and easily. Like drawing, painting, sculpture, graphics and performance, he uses them as a self-reflecting, intermedial, communicative invitation.
His work, including the acoustic and cinematic, is presented in this book, pushed into one another as it unfolded next to one another on his large computer screen. Thus it goes page by page: in the constant alternation of all the media possibilities, metamorphoses, repetitions and differences that only Böhmler is capable of in his specific simultaneity of humour, irony, observation and politics. An album materializes that Böhmler presents to us. Böhmler’s works are not driven exclusively by seeing and showing, but also by language, by language play and language renewal in rhythmic space. Here the visual aspect is intensified once again in the expansion of a thought space, the vastness of which can be guessed at in this album. The infinite Böhmler cosmos – anarchic, comic and never closed. And it is poetic, i.e. melancholic, fragile and mysterious, as René Descartes says on the telephone in the Böhmler tradition: “I think it’s me”. This publication was initiated by Textem Verlag and was produced in close cooperation with Claus Böhmler, who developed the unique design of the pages in countless sessions with the technical support of Naho Kawabe. The result is a splendid, extremely lively and visually powerful examination of the artist’s life’s work by the artist. Claus died in 2017 when the book was ready for printing. It is his legacy. (Michael Glasmeier)
The exhibition FUZZY DARK SPOT at the Falckenberg Collection brings together 56 video works by over 30 mostly Hamburg-based artists ranging from the 1970s to the present day, featuring historical and contemporary productions in both thematic and monographic groups. The exhibition examines how video in art interprets social and media irritations and manipulations.
Participating artists: John Bock, Claus Böhmler, Öyvind Fahlström, Harun Farocki, Jeanne Faust, Britta Gröne/Peter Piller, Romeo Grünfelder, Christian Jankowski, Naho Kawabe, Paul McCarthy, Vanessa Nica Mueller, Wolfgang Oelze, Nam June Paik, …
Exhibition catalogue, edited by Dirk Luckow and Wolfgang Oelze texts
(German/English) by Friedrich Heubach, Dirk Luckow, Thomas Macho,
Wolfgang Oelze, Claudia Reiche, Gerd Roscher, Siegfried Zielinski as
well as introductory texts on the artists 324 p with 210 coloured illustrations 240 x 180 mm, softcover embossed
Press release: “Artists’ books tell stories, are manifestos, archives or political proclamations. They break with traditional forms of design, open up new spaces, are programmatic, narrative, playful or even abysmal. Discovered as an open and versatile medium through conceptual art and the Fluxus movement, the artist’s books have established themselves as an independent art genre since the 1960s. With the exhibition “Künstlerbücher. Die Sammlung”, the Hamburger Kunsthalle presents for the first time a selection of the best-known publications from its collection of around 1,700 exhibits. […] Dieter Roth, the most important and most stubborn as well as uncompromising protagonist of the artist’s book, and the Hamburg artist Claus Böhmler, who died last year, each have their own rooms dedicated to them.”
With David Altmejd, John Baldessari, Claus Böhmler, He Chi, Hua Mao First Floor (HMFF), Idris Khan, Lam Yau Sum, Lin Xin, Helen Marten, Kingsley Ng, Tony Oursler, Utopia Group, Yang Xinjia
Pressrelease: “Second Nature borrows from American philosopher John Mcdowell’s conceptualisation of a “second nature” in human beings. Second nature consists of conceptual capacities built upon instincts. Mcdowell contends that the development of these capabilities is facilitated by one’s society. Second nature involves the enhancement of one’s autonomy, and it requires accumulation of experiences. This feature sets second nature apart from first, primal nature. Artists, as highly autonomous individuals, appeal not only to collective experience but also intuition and nature in order to explore humans and their inner selves, and their relationship with the outside world. The creation of art requires the combination of human imagination and capability of thinking so as to engage in endless creation.
The exhibition is laid out in two exhibition halls. The first hall starts off the exposition by anchoring the content of display on nature and traces of civilisation. The second one exhibits the participating artists’ reflections upon the issues they take on through new media, interactive pieces, and creative modes through which the development of human civilisation can be manifested. Each exhibit is riddled with complexity. The exhibition also raises questions about the root of our nature: regardless of our nationalities and communities, the ultimate issue that all of us ponder upon remains the root of the whole human race. The rumination of our past, our history, and our expectations for the future are all built upon a shared nature. We reflect upon the intriguing relationship amongst humans, nature, and experiences on such common ground.”
There is a video by Claus Böhmler, which simply shows how a record is placed on a plate and the tonearm moves inwards until the next record is put on. Who would stare so long into the groove at home? But you remain seated in front of the video and watch the medium at work. This is the laconic joke with which Böhmler took every technology at its word. Born in Heilbronn in 1939, Böhmler was one of the first German media artists. He was a master student of Joseph Beuys and was early exhibited by the gallery owner Alfred Schmela. He participated in the “Medien-Documenta” of 1977 and had solo exhibitions at the Kölnischer Kunstverein, the Fridericianum in Kassel and twice at the Hamburger Kunsthalle. From 1974 to 2005 he was a passionate professor in Hamburg, with students such as Martin Kippenberger and Albert Oehlen. Nevertheless, his name is hardly known beyond his circle of companions. On the one hand, this is due to his lack of talent for self-marketing, and on the other, to the shape of his art. Böhmler was a master of the small form, for whom check paper and a children’s stamp with the Disney Pinocchio were sufficient to sound out the possibilities and limits of animated film. Someone who was so interested in the conditions of representability that it was all the more worthwhile to bring it back into the light. Last week Böhmler died in his apartment in Hamburg. kjr
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 27.02.2017, Nr. 49, S
The magazine “Kultur & Gespenster” on the subject of radio will be available from autumn 2013.
The texts are dedicated to radio as a haunting medium, electronic presence from telegraphy to television and schizophrenia.
With texts by Ole Frahm, Klemens Gruber, John Mowitt, Patrick Primavesi, Milo Rau, Andreas Stuhlmann and many others, as well as picture series by Simon Logan, Peter Lynen and Claus Böhmler, Wibke Larink, Leonore Mau, Michaela Melián.
Press release: “We are particularly pleased that we were now able to put together the last works of Claus Böhmler in a single show. The works cover the years 2004 to today and include videos, installations and silkscreen prints.
Claus Böhmler (*1939) studied in Stuttgart and Düsseldorf in the 1960s and is a former student of Josef Beuys. For almost 30 years (until 2005) he was professor at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Hamburg. His last major solo exhibitions were in 2001 at the Kunsthalle Fridericianum Kassel and in 1999 at the Kunsthalle Hamburg.
Böhmler was one of the first artists in Germany to be interested in the possibilities of image reproduction and its technique. Using simple and everyday materials, as well as a simple ironic questioning of technical mechanisms and a playful approach to the possibilities of a medium, he creates functions and references that are full of effects within their simplicity. He makes many media his own: He draws, writes, sets to music, collages, films and animates. His installations, readymades, drawings and animations are all about the diversity of an object that grows beyond its traditional function. Kritsch questions Böhmler’s relationship between appearance and existence, original and copy, reality and image.
From screen tower to flat screen – a installation.
Press release: “Claus Boehmler’s current exhibition “en vogue ist in!” opens at 8 p.m. on November 19, 2009 in the Galerie Renate Kammer. From 1974 to 2005, Claus Boehmler taught at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Hamburg, thus shaping an entire generation of artists. A student of Beuys himself, Claus Boehmler is still associated with Fluxus today. He associates freely and hopes that the viewer will do the same: “The title of the exhibition itself is the program – en vogue is in! The artist asks: Can this language game, like the nonsense in the Kōans of the Zen masters, trigger a flash of inspiration? But even if he builds thematically and consistently on what occupied him early on, in his mind he is again rushing ahead of his time – perhaps only to look back on us stumbling behind with the ironic wink that is so typical of him – “en vogue is in!