Rolf A. Kluenter

Rolf A. Kluenter: the black paper project

Jonathan Liu

"The bamboo would be harvested on the fifth day after the new moon; it will then be cut into pieces five to seven feet long. The pieces are then immersed in water for 100 days; afterward they will be crushed..."
Song Ying Xing described the procedure of papermaking ("Works of nature and the work" - 1673)

The invention of paper has improved the flow of mankind's communication. Papermaking was invented in China and after hundreds of years it made its way to the western world.
Kluenter, however, went in the opposite direction: from Europe to Asia. More than 20 years ago he went to Kathmandu, Nepal. Then he wandered through Asia, from India to China.

Once, Kluenter visited an old priest in Nepal. The priest presented him with a stack of traditional manuscript paper, which his family had been making for generations. Kluenter uses a lot of hand-made paper in his works; he blackens the paper with coal dust during the manufacturing process.

"The combination of black pigment and cellulose atomises the surrounding light, transforming it into a delicate shimmering surface, thus creating a subtle experience of pure materiality. This empowers the material and creates the groundwork for his art."

The world has no borders; an artist from Europe wanders for years through Asia. He breaks down the boundaries, and assimilates into the most different of cultures. You can see in his works influences from Buddhism, Taoism or Hinduism, but still Kluenter does not belong to any of them. His works have a world vision, which goes far beyond any cultural limit.

His works are the keys, which open the little doors of the world. By looking at them, we can breath in the air on the plateau in Tibet, smell the fog in the Nepalese valley, feel the temperature of the dew on the leaf of a mountain plant in the Himalayas... as if we were wandering with him.

These experiences refresh our soul.