Johannes Kahrs

Johannes Kahrs

embrace
Luhring Augustine
New York, 531 West 24th Street

In his oil on canvas paintings, the German artist Johannes Kahrs interprets mass media and visual culture in a highly intimate, personal, and subliminal fashion, while stripping the original content from its formal narrative and visual form. No longer referring to their initial states and scenarios, these images often times reminisce details of collectively familiar images we encounter on daily basis or recall film stills that capture a bizarre moment. In his Luhring Augustine exhibition embrace, people, objects, or undefinable things morph into particles of a memory that oppose waning through Kahr’s fluid and ethereal brushstrokes. 

  Johannes Kahrs, Untitled (embrace), 2015 Oil on canvas © Johannes Kahrs; Courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York, and Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp.

Johannes Kahrs, Untitled (embrace), 2015 Oil on canvas © Johannes Kahrs; Courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York, and Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp.

I think I was just getting more and more interested in the things that were right in front of my eyes, so I started to paint hands and feet. I never use models, I don’t like the presence of other people when I work. I used to import most of my images from newspapers or magazines and films, but increasingly now, I take photographs myself and I do like to know the people, but it’s not necessary. The image can be so ambiguous and a hand can be interpreted in so many different ways. — Johannes Kahr

 J ohannes Kahrs, Untitled (am strand), 2016 Oil on canvas © Johannes Kahrs; Courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York, and Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp.

Johannes Kahrs, Untitled (am strand), 2016 Oil on canvas © Johannes Kahrs; Courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York, and Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp.

Kahr’s paintings bring to mind the works of Luc Tuymans and Marlene Dumas in terms of stemming from existing imagery and delivering complex physiological depictions of their source material. Unlike his peers though, Kahrs omits making clear references to his inspirations, projecting onto his audience the responsibility and liberty to reach assumptions about what they are looking at. Distilled through his signature powdery and dream-like color spectrum, Kahr’s paintings stand between evanescence and survival. 

  Johannes Kahrs, Untitled (hand mirror), 2014 Oil on canvas © Johannes Kahrs; Courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York, and Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp.

Johannes Kahrs, Untitled (hand mirror), 2014 Oil on canvas © Johannes Kahrs; Courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York, and Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp.

“I think I was just getting more and more interested in the things that were right in front of my eyes, so I started to paint hands and feet. I never use models, I don’t like the presence of other people when I work. I used to import most of my images from newspapers or magazines and films, but increasingly now, I take photographs myself and I do like to know the people, but it’s not necessary. The image can be so ambiguous and a hand can be interpreted in so many different ways,” said the artist when asked about his increasing interest in close-ups and using hands as subject matter in an interview with Isabel Stevens for Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art’s Contemporary magazine.

On view through April 22, 2017 

Unfinished Conversations: New Work from the Collection

Unfinished Conversations: New Work from the Collection

Chung Seoyoung

Chung Seoyoung