Kevin Kemter


10.11. - 15.12.2017

Opening - 10.11.2017, 5 - 9 pm

“Anyone who thinks everything is good is unfortunately wrong. Because much is bad, and some is even evilly bad. And so it is no wonder how some react to this shit world full of hard animosity. Go ask the trapped miners, the lost polar explorers, or this Jörg-Kisten-Zych. What do they do? They take this one step, through the mirror, into a calming world of their own where everything is allowed and everything is under control. And everything happens in accordance with the good rules. Rules that really should be in every law book in this world: because here it’s clear who has the say. And here it’s clear what is bad and should be fought.” (on Kevin Kemter’s publication LIDL Eine Bildstrecke (Klassisch), 2015)

Today it is easy to flee into other realities. Virtuality has become real, and it didn’t start with virtual reality headsets and applications. If you put on VR headset, an immersive landscape unfolds that can be experienced by moving your head back and forth.

Less digitally, but equally thoroughly, Kevin Kemter creates a refuge in his solo exhibition “Bildhelmausstellung (Picture Helmet Exhibition)” in the EIGEN + ART Lab that can protect visitors from the outside world, but at the same time draws them into a world of perception and experience all its own. Kemter constructs an exhibition scenario in which, one will have to note, fiction and reality determine each other anew.

In the exhibition room, fourteen framed drawings screwed onto helmets hanging on chains from the ceiling. The helmets are heavy and ponderous and recall the first industrially produced prototypes of VR headsets. If you put them on, your field of vision is restricted to a small radius. For the moment, you can’t escape Kemter’s world of experience and you find yourself in a parallel world. The visitor to the exhibition is then less the constructor of his own experience than someone who takes on the draftsman’s point of view: your ears are covered, everything is quiet, and you can feel your own breath.

Imprisoned beneath Kemter’s picture helmets, the viewer is shown an uncompromising and excessive, but also naïve picture. Their garish coloring, infantile style, and the forms depicted, turn the drawings, which consciously produce sexualized associations, into testimonies to a confused wildness. At the same time, Kemter plumbs new forms of presenting an old medium, the drawing. The exhibition visitor’s accustomed glance and the traditional way of presenting and hanging drawings is thereby conceived anew.

The drawings, which provoke an excess of stimulations, collide with the material character of the helmets – coarsely fabricated constructions made of motorcycle helmets and metal scaffoldings. The sharp edges of the steel frameworks of the drawings are coarsely masked with foam material to suggest the impression that safety measures were carried out in the exhibition room. This interplay has the potential to boost the disturbing quality of each individual component of the installation almost to the point of paranoia.

The disturbance that is evoked permits concrete inferences about a currently palpable political uncertainty: a growing kind of insecurity can be observed that, triggered by current political events, an ever-growing segment of the populace expresses in irrational security concepts and sometimes dangerous preventive measures. It seems extremely timely, this yearning of many to retreat into subjective and controllable spaces: “As a politically thinking person, it seems very remarkable to me, but as a draftsman, this yearning is definitely familiar.” (Kevin Kemter, 2017)

Translation by Mitch Cohen