Arno Kramer


22 March - 15 June 2014

Arno Kramer (Winterswijk, 1945) is a draughtsman pur sang, who makes full use of the qualities and potential of his medium. His way of drawing is highly recognizable, not only due to the combination of abstract and figurative elements, but also because of the sensitive quality and melancholy atmosphere of his works, which have been characterized as 'delicate and vulnerable.' That characteristic also applies to the very large drawings that sometimes span entire walls. In addition to the smaller-sized works, a few of these will likewise be shown in his exhibition in the project space.

A limited number of motifs keep on cropping up in Kramer's drawings: aside from the female body and the portrait, these include animals such as hares, deer, a wolf or swans. Now and then the field is framed by a few tree trunks, but the space created by the drawings is mainly a mental one. Abstact growths and geometric constructions, taut lines and blotches of color fanning out spontaneously counteract the figurative motifs. A hare is hemmed in by wisps of parallel lines that besiege the helpless creature from all sides. In another drawing a circle of undulating lines seems, on the other hand, to offer refuge to two deer. Kramer continually alternates the way in which he plays off abstract and figurative elements against each other. Neither type predominates; the outcome remains uncertain.

In recent drawings new motifs are appearing as well. A number of works show that the hares, wolves and deer have given way to desolate urban scenes, and the delicate transparency of watercolor has been replaced with large, black areas in charcoal. The initial drawing came about during a stay in Portadown, in Northern Ireland, and developed into a series in which Kramer has transformed rows of houses, buildings and a cemetery (seen on trips to cities such as Madrid and Berlin) into anonymous, dark silhouettes. Here, too, inexplicable and ghostly forms loom forth and give the drawings an air of mystery and ominousness.   

Kramer employs drawing not as a means by which to record something, but in order to evoke something. With this he likes to utilize the versatility that is intrinsic to the medium. Flexibility has traditionally made drawing preeminently suited to a supporting role in the generative process of a painting or a sculpture. With Kramer, however, it is an end in itself.