Thomas Kratz

Performance: ‘Both’, Croy Nielsen, Berlin, 2009. Photograph: Annette Kisling

Thomas Kratz is an artist living and working in Berlin. His practice moves between painting, installation and performance. He is a graduate of the Royal College of Art (2005) and studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Kuenste in Munich with Prof Günther Förg (2001). He was artist in residence at Chongqing in China through the invitation of Gasworks in London (2008). Recent performances include: Star at Ve.sch in Vienna and at Galerie Kamm in Berlin (2011); Wie ich dem toten Hasen die Bilder erkläre at Schmela Haus in Düsseldorf (2010); Both at Malmö Konsthall in Sweden and Croy Nielsen in Berlin (2010/09); Strawberry Camouflage has been performed at various venues internationally including at the Frankfurter Kunstverein and the ICA as part of Nought to Sixty (2008). He has presented solo exhibitions at Croy Nielsen, Berlin (2010); Kate MacGarry, London (2008); The Return, Dublin (2008); Center, Berlin (2007); kunstraum münchen, Munich (2007). He has exhibited in many international group shows.

‘In many respects, the work of Thomas Kratz defies summation. Kratz operates across a variety of media, and his approaches can appear cyclical – not necessarily generating an ordered structure but one in which reoccurring facets are placed alongside one another across spaces, exhibitions and works.

Kratz has an interest in the early twentieth-century Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa, who devised a means of writing from multiple points of view. These different identities are heteronyms – rather than simple ‘nom de plumes’ – as he gave them distinct characters, each with its own biography and physical characteristics. Kratz does not go so far as to nominate plural identities from which his work emanates, yet his approach to making art is founded on a set of positions, each with clear material and conceptual characteristics.
Objects, both constructed and pre-existing, are reincarnated throughout Kratz’s work. Bicycles appear frequently: propped against the gallery wall, as if offering a means of escape; or leant against a set of glass doors, preventing entry to the gallery beyond.
Kratz’ action, however, is also a poised, aesthetic composition that revels in the communicative possibilities of an archive of objects and gestures. This style of identity formation – drawing on sources that range from visceral painting to refined architecture – is recurrent throughout the artist’s work, often highlighting the false constructions that commonly occur within art and exhibitions. Kratz creates a language of objects and gestures that is highly diverse, but which in total speaks of the contingencies and rituals of art.’

Excerpt from a text by Richard Birkett, 2007

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