Rolf A. Kluenter

Rapture in Transit

by Klaus Flemming
The title really is a paradox: the state of highest intensity, of being beside oneself, of ecstasy and supernatural abilities of vision and comprehension, the definitive, all-encompassing experience šC but "in transit," "passing through," in a process of change, fluctuation, and spatial-geographic tracelessness? And all this, moreover, in reference to the visual arts, the synonym of material reliability, of world view turned substance?

Rolf A Kluenter has not simply declared this paradox but experienced it, and he has doubly mobilized it: after having familiarized himself with the abstractions of Western art during his studies, he exposed himself early on and without existential reservations to the Far Eastern spell of calligraphy and meditation - but without surrendering to pseudo folkloristic superficialities or renouncing his Central European intellect.

Kluenter has absorbed the artistic contexts of both cultures and translated them for himself; in the process, the actual transit itineraries of the person Kluenter are surpassed by the intellectual and sensuous transfers that manifest themselves in paintings, objects and installations. The result is not syntheses but synergies, and the impulses of energy that convey their sensuous presence in these works embody the rapturous opulence that makes on forget the paradox.

Nevertheless they remain "in transit" as a sensuous principle of artistic effect: in constant metamorphosis toward the new, emerging from what has been seen and stored and shaped, and on their way toward destinations.

An Artistic East-West-Dialog: Rolf A. Kluenter's Space-Strokes

by Klaus Flemming
In calligraphy, in contrast to handwriting, graphical elements are formed as legibly and precisely as possible. Penmanship, subsuming all forms of writing corresponding to the classical Asian topoi, has become a form of art subject to aesthetic criteria

Rolf A. Kluenter's artistic productions evoke calligraphy. Manifestly, his art has been permeated by the art, culture and history of Nepal and China, where the artist has spent the past 21 years.

Whereas calligraphy, in the true sense of the word, is intended as an artistic form of writing, which nevertheless conveys a meaning, the calligraphic elements of Kluenter's oeuvre have no particular semantic significance. Comparable with ornamental arabesque, his calligraphic shapes and forms are pure art, expressive but uncoded and thence undecipherable.

In spite of their proximity to calligraphy, Kluenter's abstractions are imbued with inventive elements of advanced Western art: basic geometric elements calligraphically condensed; subtle running colors casting imaginery spaces; lines and hatching; application of the brush and meander, glazes and overlapping; blank spaces and contrast. His entire repertoire of non-representational filigree shapes, an essentially free interplay of artistic elements, is reminiscent of, but not identical with, handwriting.

Which sphere dominates, the ostensibly sensual sphere of spatially delineated stroke-sequences, or the more open "system" of unconstrained geometrics, cannot be ascertained. The vibrant and delicate brush strokes interweave these two spheres, crossing their respective boundaries and uniting them through a quasi-organic profusion of colors.

Kluenter applies fine color pigments to traditional hand-made papers whose surfaces combine with the pigments to yield their own particular textures, inextricably interweaving transparency with color, fragility with strength. Seen from close up, the combination of pigment and cellulose atomizes surrounding light, transforming it into a delicate shimmering, thus creating a subtle experience of "pure materiality".

Kluenter does not limit his art to this space of perceptual depth, which the viewer experiences in a natural way. By means of large space-filling productions, the surface of the paper expands into a variable and extensive project, such as when a web of pleated paper unfolds winding upwards from the ground reaching the ceiling in a mighty thrust of lines, shapes and texturized color. The forceful "be-drawn" meandering band transubstantiates into an expressive, three-dimensional figurative statement, willfully noble as well as fortuitously severe, a foldable script and mutable space determinant.

Although the concrete and applied is experience, so is the powerful and free expression of harnessed impulse. Other "cellulose sculptures" šCa potentiated paradox- consist of large and voluminous buldging bands of matted color-satiated fiber, a fascinating creation of textural surfaces resulting from an unique combination of pigments with materials and forming new quasi-organic unity. Playfully light, as if floating, through the use of few moorings, Kluenter's productions are nevertheless well defined in their dynamic expansiveness.

Kluenter, an ongoing experimenter in his domain, often displays his productions in series as ever so many declinations of basic emotional positions. His productions, as himself, are situated between cultures, crossing borders, intersecting at cross-cultural pathways in the concrete as well as the artistic domains: cosmopolitan progeny of different cultural spheres, interdisciplinary paradoxes, wordless, non-conceptual messages simulating linguistic variety, an arstistic blend and expression of the most diverse influence deeply rooted in natural forms and elements. Allusions become autonomous artistic expressions transcending the roots, relationships and associations from which they originally stemmed, without, however, shamefully denying or rescinding these origins.

Through detachment and transposition, intensification and amplification, introspection, repetition and zooming in close, the seemingly familiar dissolves and transforms itself into an apparently natural and obvious solution of a new order which qualifies as a form of art able to visualize contemporary modernism.

It is perhaps the special task of art to play an avant-garde role by anticipating, analyzing and expressing in metaphorical images the worldwide so loudly proclaimed globalization of modern times. These artifacts have assimilated their intrinsic basis, as far as necessary. They have cast such as anchors their visionary moorings, as much as possible. Their synergetic potential has been irrefutably demonstrated.