November 5 – 25, 2005
Thomas Kilpper in the gallery Wildwechsel
Rotlintstr. 98, 60389 Frankfurt, Germany
Vernissage: 4 November 2005 7pm
Exhibition: 5 November – 25 November 2005
Opening hours: Wed. Thu. Fr. 4 – 7 pm
Thomas Kilpper, who lives in Berlin, chooses the most difficult of all paths an artist can take. In his work he does not shy away from large to monumental formats and complex contents. On the other hand, he develops an astonishing variety and love of detail, going into depth.
Kilpper became known to a wider public through his large-format woodcut projects from 1998 to 2000 in empty buildings near Frankfurt and in London.
Here he really worked his way through: the resistance of the parquet floor and its partly comical, partly loaded history. Near Frankfurt it was a former Nazi military camp, which after the war became the site of numerous interrogations and training missions of the US army and where barely two years after the end of the war, with the help of the CIA, the forerunner of the German foreign secret service, the BND, the so-called “Organisation Gehlen”, was launched. Surprisingly, this happened under the same leadership as the Nazi secret service “Fremde Heere Ost”: Reinhard Gehlen.
In London it was a place where an octagonal church was erected in the 18th century, which was radically reused almost a hundred years later: the pulpit was replaced by a boxing ring, in which 30 years of important and popular boxing fights took place – until during the 2nd World War Hitler’s air force reduced the building to rubble and ashes. Orbit House, which was built on the same site after the war, initially served the British Army as a secret location for their printing workshop until the Oriental Department of the British Library moved here and, among other things, kept the oldest known woodcut in the world, the “Diamond Sutra” from China, here.
Kilpper goes to archives, asks local residents or former employees… then he approaches: “With heavy equipment, the ghosts of their own past are carved into the smooth wooden floor, -sawn, -milled, -cut, -chopped, -choped, -choped. Later, the scratched landscape is treated with miraculous artistry. The prints are removed with paint, paper and fabrics.” (Else Gabriel on Thomas Kilpper)
At the invitation of the Goethe-Institut, Kilpper travelled to the occupied territories of Palestine in 2003 and, together with Palestinian youths, built a larger-than-life horse sculpture out of metal from destroyed houses and cars. In the Arab world, the horse is a symbol of freedom and enjoys enormous popularity.
Against constantly recurring curfews, controls, tank and air force deployments, this project was an attempt to reopen play and movement spaces in public space. After its completion, the horse was successfully pulled from checkpoint to checkpoint through the entire West Bank to Ramallah, Arafat’s destroyed seat of government, together with some workshop participants – despite all warnings. As if by a miracle, the horse opened almost all the otherwise locked gates for a brief moment. “You have to see the film Thomas Kilpper made about it.
…made with… The described details of everyday life are full of absurd obstacles, they also deal with great hospitality, and with being settled in temporary as well as hostilities…” (Else Gabriel)
Thomas Kilpper has planned a new installation – bicycle shop – for the Wildwechsel Gallery in Frankfurt.
Bicycles will be offered for sale and defective bikes will be accepted for repair. The gallery owner and art dealer becomes a bicycle seller and bicycle mechanic – the gallery visitor possibly a bicycle buyer or customer of a bicycle repair.
Kilpper wants to question the function and identity of the location as well as the social position of its protagonists – and at the same time encourage a form of ecologically meaningful mobility. The bikes sold during the exhibition are signed by the artist.