Jukai-Ryokō / 樹海旅行 [Reisendes Meer aus Bäumen], Nails-Project-room, Düsseldorf
Experimental research Project in collaboration with Marco Biermann, a birch, an Ambertree, and several little plants, Nails projectroom, Düsseldorf, 2020
The world is on the move. Flexibility is the order of the day. Rootedness is out. People and animals are traveling and migrating. But what about the plants? In the context of dramatic climatic changes, the two artists Tomas Kleiner and Marco Biermann dedicated their collaboration to the situation of plants, which are often at the mercy of rapid changes living conditions due to their rootedness and spatial inability to move. While humans and animals can quick and flexible open up new habitats, the flora threatens to fall by the wayside due to its flexibility. The project shows an experimental, existential and humorous examination of this current topic.
In what way would a young birch most like to travel – on land, on water, or in the air? What precautions must be taken to take a tomato plant healthy in the Arctic Circle? How can house plants and greens strip fragments be integrated into automated and permanently moving transport processes? And how can plants become a permanent part of our turbulent everyday life? The exhibition entitled „Jukai-Ryokō“ shows the first process-based visibility of the larger-scale project. The exhibition space of Nails-projectroom will be transformed into research and action space, within which the first working fragments, artistic-model experiments and discussions will take place, in order to pursue the above-mentioned question and to open up a social discourse on them.
The project is intended to become a flexible laboratory of scientific and artistic collaboration, in the context of which, over the years, diverse artistic forms and visibility can be created in accordance with the obstacles and hurdles.
The project is supported by the Kunst- und Kulturstiftung der Stadtsparkasse Düsseldorf, Kunststiftung NRW and Baumschule Schmitz
Medusa : floating body #4 at IKOB Museum Eupen / Belgium
Solo exhibition in cooperation with Marco Biermann at IKOB Museum of Contemporary Art, Eupen / Belgium 2020
In addition to the video installation, which has been shown before in other contexts as you see below, the focus of the show was to enlarge the experimental forms of inflatable objects in a loose relation to the performance action on the Rhine in 2019.
More information about the project you will find at “Medusa : floating body #3 / #2 / #1”
Medusa : floating body #3 at K21 Kunstsammlung NRW
Medusa : floating body in the context of the exhibition “in order of appearance” at K21 Kunstsammlung NRW, Düsseldorf, 2020
In the context of the exhibition “in order of appearance” in the Kunstsammlung NRW, the presentation of the artistic research and performance project “Medusa : floating body” concentrates on the video installation whose images were created during the previous action on the Rhine.
The air mattresses made of robust PVC, which were designed, produced and printed by the artists especially for the installation, are presented as an iridescent visual medium and exhibition furniture, inviting the visitors to look at them and lie on them at the same time. Lying on one of the mattresses, with the vertical view upwards, the reverse view of the drone, the viewer can experience the action and the feeling of ‘letting oneself go’.
In addition to the content-related examination of the concept of a childlike, free and weightless floating moment, the visual level can also be recognized as a clear construction of such a floating state, which at times allows the viewer to drift along with it, but also allows it to tip out again and again.
More information and press articles:
RP Online – Treiben lassen im Kunstbetrieb / PDF ⟶
WZ – Ausstellung in der Kunstsammlung NRW / PDF⟶
Kaffee und Haut #2 #3 /coffee and skin #2 #3 at Thresholds Performance-Festival, Düsseldorf
Video and live performance in collaboration with Marco Biermann at Thresholds-Performance-Festival, Golzheim (#2), Fabric of Art, Wuppertal (#3), 2019
The video installation and performance work by the artist duo Tomas Kleiner and Marco Biermann deals with a finely motorized way of being dependent on each other. Located in everyday situations, Kleiner and Biermann experiment with moments of physical helplessness, as long as the the condition continually changes. While a clearly contoured situation – making coffee – initially begins with a definable distribution of roles (who uses whose hands for what purpose), this is reversed again and again, giving rise to moments of indeterminacy that no longer allow a stable allocation. In this way, acting together creates spaces in between, which constantly oscillate between supporting, instrumentalizing, empowering oneself over the body of the other, joining and letting oneself be guided.
The video projections shown in loops, as well as the actions performed as a live performance, thematise a mutual feeling of movement, of the physicality of the other, but also of the body as a material, a tool with its own resistance. At the same time the work does not linger merely in the mode of representation. The haptic highly charged images and the tangible objects in the room, which can be incorporated in a direct sense via smell, create an increased materiality ratio, which produces a direct physical response. In this way, the installation itself becomes an experiential space that negotiates the materiality and corporeality of the other, without allowing this to dissolve into a tactile experience of its own.
This ambiguous experience is heightened in the live performances, which in turn take up everyday practical situations. Whether preparing a coffee, hanging out the laundry or potting plants – the actions as material acts are felt above all in their temporal extension. While making coffee as a practiced, independent action would take about four minutes, here it is extended to almost four times the time. In this way, the experience of the performance goes beyond a quasi-distant observation to emerge a sense of the process as action. Thus the materiality of the performances generates a form of physical involvement that makes the resistance of the body of the other person visible, and the loss of control about the slipping coffee bean perceptible. In this way, personal everyday life becomes an experimental field of constant change, a situation that shifts the privacy of practiced actions and turns it into a field of negotiation, which allows the interaction with one another to become a resistively ambiguous and at the same time uncontrollable, attentive and sensitive practice.
Text excerpt by Svetlana Chernyshova, 2019
Medusa : floating body #2 at Crone Gallery, Berlin
Video installations, photo prints on paper, inkjet prints on PVC, UV-printed inflatables, jellyfish aquarium installation, in cooperation with Marco Biermann at Galerie Crone, Berlin, 2019
After the preparation and action of the project “Medusa : floating body #1′ already had a process-oriented visibility in the Akademie Galerie in Düsseldorf, the variation “Medusa : floating body #2′ shows the photo and drone video material collected during the performance action in another artistic form, which was created site-specifically for the exhibition space of the Galerie Crone Berlin.
The complex network of the carefully prepared and negotiated mode of letting oneself be carried along with an air mattress on the busy Lower Rhine is taken up as the basis for the exhibition concept and brought into a further artistic form.
The air mattresses made of robust PVC, specially designed for this conditions, produced and printed by the artists for the installation, are presented in an alternating manner as a visual medium and exhibition furniture, inviting visitors to look at them and lie on them at the same time. Lying on one of the mattresses, with the vertical view upwards, the reverse view of the drone, the viewer can experience the feeling of ‘letting oneself go’.
In addition to the content-related examination of the concept of a childlike, free and weightless floating moment, the visual level can also be recognized as a clear construction of such a floating state, which at times lets the viewer drift along with it, but also lets him or her tip over.
more information and press articles:
Good to talk – Interview, Berghain Kantine Berlin / Facebook livestream ⟶
Periphere-Beitrag / PDF ⟶
ART-at-Berlin, Galerie Crone / PDF ⟶
Berlin-Art-Link, Galerie Crone / PDF ⟶
Medusa : floating body #1 at Akademie Galerie Düsseldorf
site-specific and performative work process, installation and live action in collaboration with Marco Biermann at Akademie Galerie, Düsseldorf, 2019
At the beginning of 2019 Tomas Kleiner and Marco Biermann got the opportunity to develop a process-oriented and non-determined performance project. An exhibition offer from the Akademie Galerie Düsseldorf for the exhibition “Polke und die Folgen” was the starting point for showing the project entitled “Medusa : Floating Body” in its first conceptual and preparatory phase in the exhibition.
Based on the romantic impulse to break out of the everyday, result-oriented routine and to set off for new shores in an unguided way, the intention with this project was to initiate a social negotiation in a playful way. This impulse led to the idea of floating on the Rhine on an air mattress specially made for the project, to pass Krefeld and Duisburg to an unknown destination.
The process of performative negotiations for having a possibility to realize this idea is probably the main component of the artistic work. The artists have entered into an intensive dialogue with the DLRG Düsseldorf/Krefeld and Duisburg, the water and shipping authorities of the various regions, the water protection police, the public order offices and the district government of Düsseldorf’s aviation authority, in order to negotiate an artistic form together in a lively and participatory debate that intertwines official requirements with aesthetic ideas. On the basis of fine formulations and reformulations, an artistic project has thus been created that negotiates the childlike impulse of the casual “letting oneself drift” with the strict official requirements and federal waterway laws and leads to a contemporary, secure and approved “Freedom 2.0”.
The conclusion of this preparatory phase and the exhibition in the Akademie Galerie was the performance action on the Rhine, which started on June 30th from the Rhein-Knie-Brücke in Düsseldorf and in which the artists let themselves drift on the Rhine past Krefeld and Duisburg.
The performative moment revolves around the precarious and liberal-romantic feeling of behaving in an everyday and self-evident way despite all the tightly-knit protective framework – in relation to the complex situation of floating in the middle of the federal waterway, between the two DLRG boats flanking the mattress and under the drone buzzing above the performers.
Is it possible to create a free space in a performative way within the strict official restrictions?
abdriften – zielloses Reisen (unvollendet) /drift – aimless travel (unfinished) in public space in Germany / France
Research project for artistic-performative visibility and alternative time structures in the mode of undirected travel, without defined location, 2018
Am I in the right place? Based on which parameters do I actually get to the next location? What is behind this next corner of a house? Where does the yellow sign at the crossroads lead to? What is behind this mountain?
Without incentive, it is necessary to stay and wait. Wherever. Often a parking lot in the middle of nowhere. And then?
How do you actually get involved in a place? Within a few minutes the first insects come and check you out. A mini fly buzzes around you. Does it pass on information? Here and there there is a leftover food on the back seat.
Fellow passenger Janosch, who had set up his spider’s web at the top right corner on the inside of the windshield, kept checking that I’m not driving too fast. He was apparently happy about the different flies from the different regions – sometimes a mosquito from the Mediterranean Provence, sometimes a Rhineland-Düsseldorf Mosquito, sometimes a typical fly of a rest stop. He might not have survived the one hot day in the car. At least he hasn’t been on the bus since then. Hopefully he found a gap and just moved out. Enough travelling around with the blue bus. I wonder where he lives now?
Sometimes right-left-right-left etc. for a day, sometimes at every intersection whether right-left, straight ahead or back, but such minimalist 1960s constructions are fortunately simply no longer up to date. Who benefits from that? Only frustration. Suddenly you get stuck in a soap and can’t get out. Back and forth and back and forth – the only consolation the ever-changing passers-by who keep changing the place. But what’s the point? Rather break off the attempt that was already doomed to failure and look for more complex ways of moving?
Suddenly there is a red shimmering slope at the back – a poppy field. A red spot in the landscape – that would be something for Katharina Grosse, wouldn’t it? Let’s go there and stop for a moment?
Here and there the conversations with resting truck drivers, strolling homeless people, waiting fugitives, busy pensioners on the park bench, on the quay with a view of the burning sea, on the dirty resting place or abandoned market place: Like a parallel world with a different time structure and a strikingly different speed. Most of them rush by and are only visible like shadows. Others are in the same universe – you see yourself sharply and clearly through the frantic rush and exchange open looks.
Here and there you will be contacted and asked. It could hardly be easier to make a way. Just go directly there. Time, place, relevance and involvement are then given until this structure dissolves again at some point and the question arises again by itself. Where to go?
The project of the nomadic-performative journey, which is funded by the Kunststiftung NRW, is based on the permanent space-time interrogation and the mode of strolling. It began when Tomas Kleiner gave up his apartment in Düsseldorf in February 2018, moved into a minibus with all his belongings, and from then on was constantly in the mode of potential departure, but without wanting to submerge or disappear. On the contrary.
Duration, outcome and artistic result were – and still are – open.
Thus, Tomas Kleiner continued his subtle performative practice of the previous works of getting involved in everyday conversations, making phone calls, writing e-mails and postcards, and occasionally leaving online posts on Facebook and Instagram, which thus at least fragmentarily refer to his artistic exploration, but deny himself a uniformly representative visibility for an undefined public.
A further reappraisal of the resulting material is still in progress.
Just get in touch to find out more – every contact is welcome!
Unterwasserlebensentwurf / scenario of an underwater life, in public space, Düsseldorf
7 day continuous performative live installation in collaboration with Marco Biermann, Düsseldorf, 2018
For one week, “Unterwasserlebensentwurf” (Scenario of a Underwaterlife) by the two artists Marco Biermann and Tomas Kleiner, was on display as part of the Düsseldorf Akademie Rundgang 2018.
The performative action of the actors and the respective setting are always subject to a strict selection, because the means of design of the two artists are everyday, completely unspectacular activities, which often stand in contrast to the associated behavioral patterns of the chosen spaces. The play with the choreography of everyday life, and above all its contextual shift, not only triggers moments of irritation, but also fires up the artistic discourse on the interweaving of private and public, museum and profane space in a special way. Socially established lines of demarcation are broken up, private everyday life such as sleeping, reading, eating, brushing teeth, brushing or washing laundry becomes public.
For „Scenario of a Underwaterlife“ (Unterwasserlebensentwurf) Biermann and Kleiner placed a 12 square meter diving container filled with 26,000 liters of water next to the entrance of the academy. Equipped with compressed air bottles and weight belts, the two of them took turns floating in street clothes in front of the public in a self-staged setting between sofa, floor lamp, refrigerator and clotheshorse during the opening hours of the tour and went about their everyday activities.
The setting was reminiscent of historical peep-box stages of the 19th century, even though the ‘play’ shown here consisted of seemingly trivial everyday sequences. However, the visualization of ‘everyday life’ in a diving container once again made it clear how contextual shifts of place and action change our perception, as the most banal activities became a balancing act under the modified framework conditions. It was not only the suspension of gravity and the constant uplift that made every activity, no matter how small, a game of vabanque, but above all the supply of breathing air and the preservation of the heat balance that made the apparent normality of everyday activity difficult.
Even if the staging of the everyday itself is not new, Biermann and Kleiner always surprise with the way they present themselves, for both artists create an exciting antagonism simply by choosing the respective exhibition site, which makes the ‘non-events’ of life, the ‘blind spots of normality’ visible and turns the viewer into a devout participant.
Text excerpt by Dr. Astrid Legge, 2018
The project was kindly sponsored by Provinzial Versicherungen
more information and press articles:
FAZ – Leben unter Wasser / PDF ⟶
NRZ – Kunstakademie Rundgang / PDF ⟶
BILD – Studenten leben unter Wasser / PDF ⟶
theycallitkleinparis – Tomas Kleiner im Interview / PDF ⟶
Ecns – Art students show life underwater / PDF ⟶
WELT – Alltag unter Wasser / PDF ⟶
Anlieger / residents, Abteiberg Museum Mönchengladbach
Live-Action in collaboration with Marco Biermann and different perfomers, 3-channel video and 2-channel sound live collage, Von den Strömen der Stadt, Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, 2016
“Resident” (Anlieger) is a collection of scenes from the neighborhood. There are a total of five channels from which image and sound come: three cameras and two microphones. The recordings are separated from each other, they show a juxtaposition of three visual and two acoustic projections. In the museum space that performs this work, three projectors are set up on stands and two pairs of loudspeakers, surrounded by a large amount of cables.
The mountains of black cables, in times of wireless, battery- and electric-wave-supported media a completely atavistic and bulky circumstantiality of this installation, are the connection between inside and outside, museum and neighbourhood. Five performers have moved parallel with wired devices into the surrounding houses, out of the museum pulling the cables behind them like an umbilical cord. Or – more aptly – like a trunk that expands eyes and ears and now causes them to enter these places, to push themselves into them, over walls, behind walls.
Similar to their co-produced performances, Tomas Kleiner and Marco Biermann are also concerned here with a project of the slightest possible influence on everyday life, a video-sound performance that visibly publishes intimacy and privacy, but leaves it in this place and keeps it in a protective way.
The production of “Anlieger” has many possible references. Psychologically, the view goes from self to others, from the long scenes in Bruce Nauman’s “Studio” to the long scenes of every household. Didactically, the principle of small/beer man pushes down from the stage. This seems very acute and present, away from the theatrical, from that stage that is omnipresent today, inevitably and spontaneously built up with every camera, every smartphone snapshot, every minute of reality TV. The definition of artistic performance, since the characters of Andrea Fraser or Tino Sehgal also a didactic question for the examination of contemporary society, is once again newly set in these works. In their performances, Kleiner and Biermann invaded everyday life and pushed themselves into it almost unnoticed. They produce almost invisible performances of the private (“Kleidertausch”, 2015) and images of the almost invisible because private. These visual and acoustic images, which penetrate from one neighborhood room into another, for example in “Anlieger”, are ultimately portrait and genre by other means, reformulated and in an interesting way close to colleagues like Wolfgang Tillman, i.e. to ‘straight photography’.
Text excerpt by Susanne Titz, 2016
More information and press articles:
RP Online – Hallo Nachbarn! / PDF ⟶
Museum Abteiberg – Von den Strömen der Stadt / PDF ⟶
Wahrscheinlich sitzend / probably sitting, Hogan Lovells, Düsseldorf
5 days of live action in collaboration with Marco Biermann, action-cam video and photos, Hogan Lovells art award announcement, Kunstakademie Düsseldorf / Hogan Lovells, 2016
In the context of the call for entries for the sponsorship award of the law firm “Hogan Lovells”, Tomas Kleiner adapted to the technical limitations of the works to be submitted (150x70x70cm and max 80kg) and, due to the low maximum height, submitted as a “probably seated sculpture”.
The occasion for this action was, besides the humorous criticism of the untimely strict separation between the different artistic media, also the performaitve interest in taking the perspective of a sculpture.
The action makes the entire procedure of a competition visible from the perspective of the submitted art object, passing through the various stages of such a procedure: handing in the work at the Düsseldorf Art Academy, storage in the Academy’s office, transport from the Academy to the office, storage in the office, setting up and curating the exhibition, jury meeting and opening of the exhibition.
The performative intervention thus questions the everyday handling of art objects and the handling of artistic-performative assertions such as “this is not a performance – I am a sculpture”, playfully undermines the conventional definition of traditional art forms and renegotiates them in a concrete case – in places where one might not expect it – as the public relations officer of the academy in one’s own office, as an employee of an art shipping company during transport, as the security officer of a law firm, as the curator of a call for tenders, as the construction team of an exhibition, as members of the jury, as a waitress at the reception.
An interview in full length lead by Prof. Robert Fleck you will find on: www.kleinerbiermann.com
attention piece, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf
live action in collaboration with Marco Biermann, during several days in the entire exhibition space, time based academy, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, 2015
Two unannounced actors explicitly behave towards the museum visitors in the rooms of the Düsseldorfer Kunsthalle. However, the intervention that they perform is reduced to a minimum of perceptibility, because the experimental framework of the actors is to move exactly on the border of visibility.
The means of design here are everyday, trivial, performative behaviours whose shifting here is particularly related to the given behavioural patterns of the museum space. The extremely sensitized attention structure created by the museum frame allows the attentiveness of the visitors to be directed without great gestures:
A minimally more penetrating gaze than is customary for the place – even if it is only from a distance, a minimally more intense proximity to the visitor, whether for a longer period of time in the more distant surroundings or for a brief moment strangely close – and the visitor is already sensitized to a possible event.
What happens then, however, is apparently nothing more. –
As soon as the actors have the feeling of being on the borderline, of having gained the attention of the visitor and thus a kind of stage, the structure is immediately veiled again. The actor disguises himself again as a like-minded museum visitor, in which he once again devotes himself conspicuously to the exhibits, continues to walk, and does not enter into any further encounters with the museum visitor.
Thus the visitor is left alone with whether something has taken place, should have taken place, or could have taken place.
Kleidertausch, Kunstakademie Düsseldorf
7 days live performance in collaboration with Marco Biermann, unannounced, Rundgang Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf, 2015
Two performers are constantly exchanging their clothes back and forth in the public space of the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, thus making visible an artistic form that is simultaneously in the process of disappearing into apparent everyday life and normality.
Tomas Kleiner’s and Marco Biermann’s performance Kleidertausch (Dress Exchange) begins without much fuss: barely noticeable to visitors to the exhibition rooms at the Düsseldorf Art Academy, the two artists take up positions in the space. The spatial distance between the two encloses the audience on the one hand and allows the viewer due freedom of movement on the other, but cannot hide the fact that both refer to each other in their actions. In the performance, which now begins, both artists remove their clothes in calm, introverted movements, only to exchange them in the midst of the crowd. With the gesture of completely undressing themselves, the brief moment of nudity and the subsequent putting on of the other’s clothes, they create a place in the middle of the public space that seems familiar, friendly and symbolically charged at the same time.
Getting undressed, being naked for a short time, are everyday occurrences, yet at this point in the performance, and since both artists are naked, there is maximum attention to their actions: while a part of the audience is inclined to indulge in voyeurism, others present practice active ignorance. The performance performed by the two actors, familiar to us all, collides here with the equally intimate act of exposure, precisely because it takes place in public space. Thus a dichotomy is created between a situation that is familiar to all of us, which takes place in private space, at best in the protected atmosphere of a changing room, and which under normal circumstances has a specific purpose, and the apparently purposeless undertaking of the two artists. Their nakedness – that is, the nakedness of the other person who is not ourselves – comes from an area normally not accessible to the public and thus seems neither justifiable nor quite so in relation to public space.
Here another inconsistency between art in public space is revealed, which – precisely because it is familiar to us – often goes unnoticed. Static or conventional art in public space is taken for granted.
What is remarkable about this – according to Robert Musil – is how little this art is noticed. It only attracts attention when you have to avoid it. One is also inclined to avoid changing clothes. However, not because what is started imperceptibly at first ends imperceptibly, but because the constellation brought about by Tomas Kleiner and Marco Biermann, in its combination of inconspicuousness and simultaneous conspicuousness, binds our attention to itself. In every respect, the performance of the exchange of clothes breaks through and expands our (self-) perception and consciousness habits.
Text excerpt from Dr. Barbara Oettl
upcoming projects and works in progress…