Article by Ernela Vukaj // Sept. 05, 2019
For his third solo show at Dittrich & Schlechtriem, ‘GrünLand,’ the Berlin-based artist Klaus Jörres presents a series of large wall-mounted paintings and four sets of movable modular racks custom-fitted to the artworks, as well as a series of smaller-scale works. The show explores the weary city dweller and his quest for authenticity through the digitization of natural landscapes. As such, the artist creates scenes that represent the way society has become out of touch with nature in the digital age. The works are flat yet spatial, often resembling television test patterns or even soundwaves. From afar, they recall the shapes of hills or meadows, but upon walking closer, it becomes clear that the images are computer-generated patterns comprised of stripes and the vivid colours we associate with computers and printing: cyan, magenta, yellow and black. In this way, as well as in their overall appearance, Jörres’s works are almost optical illusions; they leave you feeling as if you have lost something you never really had.
Unlike an actual landscape, these artificial scenes are not intended for immersion, they are not warm or welcoming as some landscapes are, nor do they offer the opportunity to become lost in a melancholic state. Yet somehow, with the modular fixtures in the middle of the space displaying canvases on both sides, the actual flow of the exhibition can often make you feel as if you are walking amongst digital hills and trees, giving the sensation that you are trapped inside a video game. The mobile fixtures are also intended to represent how as a society we push nature to the back of our minds and only bring it back out when it suits us, usually for the use of decoration or for social media purposes. We love nature when it helps us gain likes or followers, but we are less enthusiastic about caring for the actual wellbeing of our planet, as reflected in Jörres’ piece ‘Müllkippe’ (2019), which translates to “dump.”
Adding another layer to this digital landscape are the smaller works featured in the exhibition. ‘Werder’ and ‘Nah Caputh’ (both 2019) reflect our understanding of the environment, as well as our treatment of it through their more naive and childlike appearances, forcing us to feel a sense of responsibility for the current state of the planet. The artist makes it very clear that his intention was never to create a simulation of a beautiful landscape to stand before in awe, because perhaps that is not what we deserve. Instead, we are forced to come to terms with an inauthentic version, the version we view through the lens of our cameraphones and through the colourful stripes crisscrossing in his canvases.