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Michael Klipphahn & Anna Nero

2. July 2021 / 7-23 pm

The Frankfurt philosopher Angelica Horn was invited to write an essay about the exhibition. Scroll drown.

Michael Klipphahn belongs to a generation of artists who, as so-called "digital natives," no longer have to think about the content of image information from the Internet but rather make use of it. These artists see the data volume of the Internet as just as much a factual reality as the non-virtual world. Part of this self-image is the knowledge that for the broader masses, images of painting from the Internet are more relevant than a visit to a museum. That is why the Dresden artist is interested in, among other things, the prettified from the world of digitally generated posters, magazines and advertising campaigns, and there above all, the optics, the smoothness and the surface. The viewer in his works is confronted with a compelling aesthetic, despite the small image details, which initially subscribes to hyperrealism. But this word falls short and means only a small insight into the scope of action and the artist's performance, who branches off his resources quite unabashedly from the data stream of the WWW. In addition to the exaggerated reality that we believe we perceive, the viewer sees poses and postures that deliberately prescribe a certain viewing hierarchy. At this point, it is perhaps not the gesture shown or the image itself that is aggressive, but how the artist surreptitiously foists a voyeuristic gaze on the viewer. By no means is anything offensive meant here, more fixation on an apparent significance paired with quasi-religious elements of mass consumption. The artist is concerned with creating a form of distance that does not generate motifs but rather a dictated distance that he assumes from what is shown or depicted.

Stephan Franck, M.A. Dresden

Michael Klipphahn graduated from the Dresden University of Fine Arts and was a master student of Ralf Kerbach He lives and works in Dresden.

Anna Nero: I'm interested in the possibilities of representation. When does colour become an object or space? I approach banal and mundane things with the help of painting. I breathe life into them or occupy the world with my own invented objects whose function can only be guessed. Blobs, colour bulges and gestures mutate into objects - or even subjects - flirt with each other or repel one another. Form panel discussions, conglomerates, empires! I scratch the surface of all things, their texture, materiality, functionality, context, and even their essence or agenda. Another aspect of my work is sex and sexuality. This is a derivative of my exploration of fetishism and lustful or loving human-thing relationships. I am interested in fetish both on the sexual level and in its original role as a cult object, relic or idol.

Anna Nero graduated at HGB, Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig and was a master student of Heribert C. Ottersbach. She lives and works in Frankfurt am Main.

Images: © Robert Schittko

​Material and functional phenomenon

On the exhibition of Michael Klipphahn and Anna Nero in the series  „“ of the Studiospace, Lange Strasse 31

Angelica Horn

In the one-evening exhibitions of the series "", two artistic positions face each other asymmetrically, which have a concern, a theme, a procedure in common, but which are realized in different, perhaps even contradictory ways, so that the two positions can enter into a dialogue or be brought into a dialogue. This time it is about painting.

The paintings of Michael Klipphahn captivate the viewer with detailed, extremely accurate representation; the object acquires an almost hyper-realistic presence. We see a pair of pants, we see a belly with navel, we see a neck, the hair, the untanned skin, the tanned skin ... It is an oil painting on wood; the wood is laminated, paper is mounted on wood to prevent the formation of craquelure by the working wood, a technique already used by Albrecht Dürer.

One task of painting is to transform the world into a surface. In a portrait by Dürer, for example, we also see the skin of a face, the surface of a garment, and it is part of the magic of art that tends to use such a transformation in such perfection that it is no longer possible to distinguish between reality and pictorial or artistical work. Every representation is a symbol, and the symbol is – at the same time – the object and yet it is precisely not the object. In his paintings, Michael Klipphahn uses images from the Internet, in which the transformation to the surface has already happened through the medium.

One's own view of the world can also be a hyperrealistic one: The gaze detaches things from their context, cuts them out, highlights them. This happens naturally when a thing particularly catches our eye. The (new) media, on the other hand, has a tendency (like film and television) to unify things, so that their level of reality may no longer be clear at the end. The artist can want to be realistic, and he can also want to keep the viewer at a distance. The artist, his picture, determines the behavior of the viewer. The view of the viewer, who wants to be critical himself, is challenged.

Anna Nero's paintings cannot be described as representational in a narrower sense, but neither can they be described as abstract, insofar as this is understood to mean the non-representational or objectless organization of the surface of the painting for purposes of expression, representation or statement. In these paintings there are objects and the viewer may try to identify them, representationally aspects can be read directly or metaphorically. We see a bracket or a "bracket", a spatial, box-like structure or a "spatial, box-like structure". Or also superimposed color material, which in the superimposition forms a pictorial object.

The "surrealist" view of the world detaches things and assembles them into a new world. Objects are derived and reinvented, objects can look like a "fetish" replace and represent other objects. The world of representation in this sense is not a world of representation, but a world of objects and their relationship, their relation and interaction with each other. In this way, there is movement in these images, a movement that is ambiguous and changes as the viewer comprehends it. In a sense, the world is always being reinvented, and so Anna Nero's paintings always look different.


Anna Nero makes use of masking the surface to create an underlying "grid" or "raster" to achieve. The colors are applied in different ways. It is about an intensity or energy that is communicated and to be communicated between us, the artist and her imagination. In doing so, she makes use not only of things in the real outside world, but likewise of already artistic worlds of the Internet, animated film, etc. Here, too, it is a matter of distance and irony, of inconclusiveness and ambiguity. What and how do we symbolize when we symbolize in depiction and representation? How does the artwork itself reflect on the work done by it or the artist?

Sigmund Freud, in his analysis of the symbolization work of the human dream, makes use of the work of the psychoanalyst Herbert Silberer. Freud himself had studied the structure of the "material phenomenon" where a symbol represents an object, which in the dream may also be just a non-present object, while Silberer has described as the "functional" or "functional phenomenon", in which not a representation of the thought content occurs, but one of the state of the person and its own functioning (i.e. subjectivity).1

If in the case of Michael Klipphahn the work on the "material symbol" may be in the foreground, then perhaps in the work of Anna Nero "functional symbol" may be in the foreground. Both artists, in their distance of irony, invite us to enjoy their painterly symbolization work as much as to seek to decipher it.

Angelica Horn Frankfurt am Main 2022


1Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams, in: Sigm. Freud, Gesammelte Werke II/III, Frankfurt am Main 1942, p. 349ff. - Sigmund Freud, On the Introduction of Narcissism, in: Sigm. Freud, Gesammelte Werke X, Frankfurt am Main 1946,
p. 164ff.

The exhibition is kindly supported by Kulturamt Frankfurt.


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