Esther Kläs
February – April 2021

Fondazione Giuliani is very pleased to present Maybe it can be different, the first exhibition in Rome of German-born, Barcelona-based artist, Esther Kläs. The exhibition includes a variety of works, including sculptures, ceramics, oil stick drawings, wool tapestry and film, which both embody the artist’s engagement with material experimentation, and highlight her interest in gesture and motion.

While grounded in the contemporary, Kläs is indebted to minimalism, albeit nuanced with a hands-on craftsmanship and Arte Povera sensibility. She often returns to similar forms in her work: rounded shapes, curves, hands, volumes folding in on themselves, but they are always mutable, different in their repetition. Working with pliable materials, any possibility of a pristine, smooth surface is eschewed for the rough-hewn and undulating, tactile and textured. The making of the work is embedded in the work itself, often appearing in its final manifestation with visible thumbprints of the artist as she worked the surface. And though her often spare constellation of objects may be utterly reduced in appearance, each object appears almost as some kind of energy-charged tool leftover from an obscure and sacred ritual.

The interrelationship of form, space, and movement is essential to reading further into the artist’s work, as is its engagement with the physicality of the viewer. The exhibition display is arranged as an assembly of precisely staged relations in which the works communicate and resonate with each other. Abstaining from any sense of theatricality, the more abstract space acts a critical element of the works, as well as a compass to the viewer’s movements. The viewer herself is an essential component of the exhibition, as the works both ask to be scrutinized from different viewpoints and solicit a sense of movement, gesture and rhythm.

Esther Kläs was born in 1981 in Mainz, Germany; she currently lives and works in Barcelona. A selection of her institutional solo shows include Start, CCA-Center for Contemporary Art Tel Aviv (2019); ola/wave, Proyecto AMIL, Lima (2017); Our Reality, Fondazione Brodbeck, Catania (2015); Ferma (5), deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts, USA (2015); Whatness (with Johannes Wald), Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Germany (2015); Girare Con Te, Marino Marini Museum, Florence (2014); Esther Kläs: Better Energy, MoMA PS1, New York (2012); You and the Dance with the Tortoise, Parkhaus, Düsseldorf (2009). She has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including L’homme qui marche Verkörperung des Sperrigen, Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Germany (2019); Delirious, Lustwarande, Tilburg, The Netherlands (2019); Proof of life, Weserburg Museum of Modern Art, Bremen, Germany (2017); Lean, Embajada, Puerto Rico (2016); Che il vero possa confutare il falso, Palazzo Pubblico, Santa Maria della Scala, Accademia dei Fisiocritici, Siena (2016); PART 2, Warhus Ritershaus, Cologne (2014); Manners of Matter, Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg (2014); Prague Biennale 6 – Flow, Czech Republic (2013); Champs Elysées, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013)Champs Elysées, curated by Julie Boukobza, Simon Castets and Nicola Trezzi, Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Configurations, Metro Tech Center Commons, Public Art Fund, Brooklyn, NY (2012).