Karl-Heinz Klopf


Austrian Cultural Institute, New York


In this exhibition, the various forms of “concealings” were brought together in a large spatial configuration. The installation consisted of the video Postkarten [Postcards] (1991), an in-situ “wall concealing,” and Kaschierungen [Concealings] (1989–1991).
The video Postkarten was shown on two synchronised monitors behind the glass façade facing the street and in the back area of the gallery, where it entered into a dialogue with a series of 14 concealed picture postcards. The “wall concealing,” a dark tarpaulin painted with white acrylic paint, was extended over the entire 18-metre-long wall. It covered existing layers of wall: a wooden wall covered with white fabric, which in turn covered a marble wall from the early period of the building.

(Concealings, 1992; video, acrylic paint on tarpaulin, 14 “concealings”; Austrian Cultural Institute, New York; February 4–28, 1992)


Dealing with the “defense of the images”, Karl-Heinz Klopf will offer the visitor a possibility to be confused if wanted. Those who reject just to be muddled will find an extraordinary selected presentation.

The visitor might see a tarpaulin covering the largest wall in the room and ask him/herself what could be behind it. The visitor might also see a number of framed pictures on another wall concealed with white paper and ask him/herself what could be covered. And the visitor might see a video tape on a monitor showing the artists smacking hand covering picture postcards.

Klopf's framed “concealings” (German “Kaschierungen”) deal with the effects of the sometimes aggressive precence of collective images and the artist's examination of this fact. The observer will find out with the help of his/her imagination and memory what is behind the concealings.

The mental space created like that is extended through real space which is represented by the tarpaulin. It refers to the layers of wall painting behind itself and to the non visible, the absent and the layered. The observer moving within real space keeps distance to his/her place due to the tarpaulin in front of the wall. Both the “concealings” and the tarpaulin are considered as representatives of the whole which facilitate more information than the whole itself ever could.

The video turns around the relation between a visible part and its absent image once more. The picture postcards' obvious visibility evaporates through the slapping hand concealing the object and defending the image.

(Katharina Gsöllpointner on the exhibition Concealings at the Austrian Cultural Institute, New York, February 4 to 28, 1992)

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