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
|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
|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|