Krister Klassman’s sculptures engage with the possibilities and traditions of the medium, utilising a range of processes along the way. In his first solo show Klassman incorporates ink drawings, digital manipulations, domestic printing and chemical reactions to produce a body of work that suggests a way of approaching a poetic dimension via digital technology.
The plaster panels have had abstract compositions imposed on them through a series of processes. Starting out as ink drawings, they are photographed, processed through Photoshop, and then printed out using a domestic printer. Plaster is poured onto the printed image, leading to an exothermic reaction between the plaster and ink. The melted xerox powder from the print is fused onto the plaster, leaving a trace of the original design etched onto the surface of the panel.
The works are sequences of transfers of information, albeit with imperfections throughout that leave the final image with its pixelated appearance. At each stage there is a reduction of information as a traditional medium gives way to digital technologies before ceding back to analogue methods. This sense of being between technologies and approaches is reflected in the status of the artworks as they operate in a space between sculpture and drawing. Whilst clearly being sculptural the works retain a strong pictorial element with their roots in drawing evident. The positioning of the works in the space acknowledge this as well, existing somewhere between the floor and the walls.
Whilst pursuing the traditional practice of drawing into new directions the works engage with the possibilities of the digital medium. Using Photoshop tools such as the ‘free transform’ and the ‘magic wand’, to name just two, the digital medium demonstrates a real possibility for poetry and abstraction as the images present in the works travel back and forth between the corporeal and digital. The images contain architectural elements, ‘dirty’ geometry, illusions, symbols and shadows that shroud, fade up/fade down with obscurity and double meanings. Whilst reminiscent of the emblems and geoglyphs of ancient civilisations, their pixelated surfaces drag them immediately into the present day, providing an instantly recognisable language in the ever-present pixel. As experiences become increasingly channeled via the pixel, Klassman suggests an alternative approach in which the old and the new reach an effective symbiosis to present the lyrical possibilities in each.
Krister Klassman, b.1981, lives and works in London. Recent exhibitions include Only A Suggestion, Gallerie Flute Douce, Frankfurt, 2012, Arab Spring, Plaza Plaza, London, 2011, New Contemporaries, A Foundation, Liverpool/ICA, London, 2010, Bold Tendencies III, London, 2009.