Clemens Krauss

Clemens Krauss. © Oliver Mark

Artists Clemens Krauss on Caravaggio, the long shadows of the past, and the joys of better hand hygiene

What are you working on at the moment?
On sculptures made just using oil paint.

Who or what has influenced you in your work?
First of all, a constant intellectual exchange with my artistic surroundings: with my artist friends, students, and by attending art exhibitions.

What artwork do you return to again and again?
Here in Berlin, I return often to Caravaggio’s ›Amor Vincit Omnia‹ at the Gemäldegalerie. Beside its virtuosity, the painting is highly political. It symbolizes the triumph of ›earthly‹ love over the ›divine‹. In my home city of Vienna, I always revisit Rachel Whiteread’s monument, the ›empty library‹. Here, the combination of radical form with critical content is what interests me.

What would you do if you weren’t an artist?
I’d be a farmer.

What are you reading at the moment?
›Der lange Schatten der Vergangenheit‹ (The Long Shadow of the Past) by Aleida Assmann, a very psychoanalytic text about collective forgetting and memory, about historical perpetrator-hood and victimhood, the traumas related to both, and the phenomenon of silence.

What should art today be able to do, in your opinion?
Risk, unconditional freedom, innovation.

What aspect of the pre-pandemic world do you grieveand what things do you not miss at all?
To answer the first part of the question: an uninhibited engagement with one another, including close physical contact. To answer the second: the lack of hand hygiene. Now just about everybody knows that it’s quite helpful to wash your hands now and then. (laughs)

If you had to sum up your work in one word, what would it be?

Do you have a daily ritual?
My only ritual is getting up and going to bed. The times can vary dramatically. In between, I work. I like going to parties and do endurance training, like swimming and preparing for a marathon.

What art or culture-related events do you look forward to in the near future?
Personal encounters most of all.

Clemens Krauss. ›Massen / Masses‹
16 SEP 2021—9 JAN 2022
Opening 15 SEP, 7—10pm

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