Jürgen Klauke (born in 1943) studied free graphics at the factory schools in Cologne and earned the title of Alfred Will’s master pupil.
His works are predominantly body art, a genre that makes the human body both the medium and the subject of art. In this sense Klauke can undoubtedly be ascribed to body art, mostly making his own body the medium of his performances and the subject of his photographs as well as his drawn and painted works.
Klauke’s photographs in particular play with the performance aspect and the thematization of the body. The works are mostly organized in series of multiple individual pieces, meaning that to a certain extent it is possible to observe a performative act in a time lapse. The observer themselves is also physically exposed in their movement from one individual work to the next, almost performing the act of observing.
Klauke also plays with this aspect of identity within his works, questioning the stereotypical attribution of gender, medium, and identity. His series “The Big Sleep” comes loose from his otherwise body-focused series and grapples instead with the medium itself: What is photography and how does it work? The works in this series are not simply photo prints, but have all been elaborately reworked with screen printing in order to give an extended materiality to the subjects, themselves as abstract as possible.
“I don’t tell stories, I represent our human image through image questions. I’m the material for my picture’s expression. The key, or rather my guiding principle, is the constant confrontation with what I call the ‘estheticization of the existential’.” – Jürgen Klauke