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.