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For the common city dweller it is just refuse and nuisance, for Clemens Behr it’s the precious substance for his work: wooden plates and rails, cardboard boxes, rack columns, corrugated metals and plastics – the variety of materials and options, forms and colors is just endless. What the street does not offer, Behr finds in DIY markets: from bolts and doors to windows and shelves to slats and plates of any shape, structure and size. Ironically, one of the chains selling off the achievements of modern architecture for small change named itself „Bauhaus“.

In his work Clemens Behr combines a classic technique of modern art – collage and assemblage – with contemporary imprints from the graffiti and skater scenes; the big names of art history – Picasso, Duchmap, Schwitters – meet the materials and the spirit of the postmodern metropolis. The solidness of the material is updated with rhythm and movement.

Behr transforms the boundless waste of our civilization into installations that fill walls and halls; what at first sight looks quite chaotic, is distinctly structured. The smaller objects we are concerned with are the essence of these monumental works. In them a quality surfaces that might be overlooked in the larger works: a sound quantum of humour, wit and irony. And absurdity.

What is the Unpleasant Shelf so upset about? Door 2 comes along as a deconstructed object, however it looks more like a knocked-out, “folded” boxer. The Roller Door is „deconstructed“ as well – meaning: it is a sawn-up door panel whose fragments are put together to form a complete, yet non-functional object. Behr even suggests a scheme for a new highway entrance. In this and in other new works the „green“ element adds a new touch to the œuvre. These plants, mosses and patches of lawn, however, are by no means natural, they are all made of plastic and come from the DIY store – just as the light is an artificial one. The green sign indicating the escape route might suggest a natural reaction to this.

In his more recent works Clemens Behr merges his diverse objets trouvés into assemblages with clearly defined edges: the works now resemble classical easel paintings. Thus the play between chaos and order is brought to the point. While the original constructivists – following a rational, utopian concept – were striving for a perfect world, Behr works with the fragmentarian and disparate aspects of our urban culture. Which he, for his part, now turns into a „constructive“, traditional order. Within the frame, however, chaos endures – albeit a well-organized one.

For further information please see the artist’s website: Clemens Behr.

Studio photograph: Brock Brake

Works

Biography

1985 born in Koblenz
2006-10 studied graphic design, Fachhochschule Dortmund
2009 Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat de Belles Artes
2011-15 studied sculpture, Universität der Künste, Berlin, master student

Lives and works in Berlin

Solo Exhibitions

2009 Galerie Seize, Marseille
2010 Black White Everything (and me), Rojo Artspace Barcelona
Avalanche, CPG Dortmund
Flat Forest, Sun Gallery, Munich
Lieux-Communs, Namur, Belgium
2012 Special Purpose Solutions / Rojo Artspace, Mailan
Galerie Seize, Marseille
Suspended Bins and Broken Windows, Akershus Kunstsenter Lillestrøm, Norway
2013 Karena Schuessler Gallery, Berlin
Splitter, Gestalten Space, Berlin
Disassembly Lines, Penidaplinena Gallery, Limassol, Cyprus
2014 Cosy Confusions, Lynfabrikken Box, Aarhus, Denmark
Samples & Variations, Underdogs Gallery, Lisbon, Portugal
2015 Small Works, Mini Galerie, Amsterdam
Variety of (n)one, Mirus Gallery, San Francisco
Clockwise, Loom Gallery, Milan
2016 First the Good News, Please, Galerie Halgand, Vienna
Docu Docu, Nevven Gallery, Gothenburg, Sweden

Group Shows (Selection)

2006 Projekt Hartmut, Essen  
2008 Uamo Art Festival, Munich  
2009 Systems and Patterns, Westbourne Studios, London
Trashismus, Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten, Marl
Drap Art, CCCB, Barcelona
 
2010 Concrete Playground, Essen
Step 9 Art Fair, Milan
 
2011 Rojo Nova, Rio de Janeiro
Artists at home and abroad, Broadway Gallery, New York
Awaln Art Festival, Marrakesh, Morocco
Run Vie, Museumsquartier, Vienna
Rojo Nova. Sao Paulo
 
2012 India Art Fair, New Delhi
Rojo Nova Sao Paulo
Rojo Nova Barcelona
Futurism 2.0, Blackall Studios, London
Graffuturism, Soze Gallery, Los Angeles
 
2013 Slipping Signs Resurfaces, Athens
Graffuturism, Openspace Gallery, Paris
Off The Wall, Mirus Gallery, San Francisco
Open Art Festival, Örebro, Sweden
Ovrag Art Festival, Vyksa, Russia
Vivid Bunch, Die Kunstagentin, Cologne
The sum is whole than the parts of its more, Schaufenster, Berlin
L´avenir, White Walls Gallery, San Francisco
Potse 68, Circle Culture Gallery, Berlin
 
2014 Art 14 Art Fair, London
re Kollekt, Galerie Borchardt, Hamburg
Artmosphera Bienale, Artplay Space, Moscow
Surface to Surface, Circle Culture Gallery Berlin
Art Cologne, Cologen
Art International Istanbul
Abstract, Bc Gallery, Berlin
Interventionale, Haus am Lützowplatz, Berlin
 
2015 Dazzle, Backwoods Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
Shapeshifters & Sharpshooters, 886 Geary Gallery, San Francisco
Collage, Mini Galerie, Amsterdam
 
2016 Kwerschnitt, Schaufenster – Raum für Kunst, Berlin
Association Greenhouse, St. Etienne, France
Festival Parkunst, Brussels, Belgium
Border and Boundaries, SAM, St.Petersburg, Russia
Struction, Kühlhaus, Berlin
Dimensionen, Galerie Borchardt, Hamburg