Kunsthaus Glarus

Daniel Gustav Cramer

12 Feb - 06 May 2012

© Daniel Gustav Cramer
Untitled (Crater), 2009, Video still
12 February – 6 May, 2012

Daniel Gustav Cramer (b. 1975 in Neuss/DE, lives in Berlin) has an eye for the extraordinary in the ordinary. He sharpens the vision for reality gaps and leads us to the borders of human modes of perception and thought in his works. There he experiments with fragments of causality in space and time and makes them visible in pictures and abstract narrations. Gaps, elisions and overlaps are significant elements in the practice of his art. In and between the spaces in his photographs, video works, sculptures, texts and books, a poesy develops, circling around the fundamental and inexplicable themes of human existence: in addition to time and space it is also a matter of nature and culture, history and the present, subjectivity and objectivity, rationality and mystery, certainty and doubt in the seemingly totally rationalised world. In his works Daniel Gustav Cramer ties a net of invisible and puzzling associations, which perhaps hold the world together at its core.

In his solo exhibition at the Kunsthaus Glarus, Daniel Gustav Cramer is showing for the first time his new video work, entitled Orrery (2012). “Orreries” are mechanical devices which visually demonstrate the planets’ paths around the sun and which have been constructed since the 18th century. In the age of discovery they served as visualisations for philosophers and as collectors’ items in cabinets of curiosities. In his video work Cramer describes his meetings with an orrery craftsman who still practises his craft and builds such planetary machines while living as a hermit in a modest hut close to Melbourne. Almost entirely with text and almost without images, the artist encircles the work and life of the world builder, who constructs his own miniature solar system in isolation from all the topical events of world affairs. Image-excerpts and text fragments focus on details of this intimate world, which seems to exist outside space and time. Inner and outer cosmos, memory, fiction and reality as well as episodes in the discovery of the world and outer space overlap and form a fragmentary narrative of this strange encounter.

In the two skylight rooms the artist continues a series of works entitled Works, which has been running since 2009 and which he constantly rearranges and expands in various exhibition contexts. Reference points for this are to be found in episodes of natural or scientific history. Collecting, archiving and rearranging found image material – as well as experienced moments – are important aspects of Cramer’s artistic work. In the process, intimate moments quite often directly meet great events of human history. The photograph Untitled (Eusebius – Jerome, 2009) shows an image of St. Jerome’s Latin translation of Eusebius of Caesarea’s Greek Chronicle. The Chronicle of Eusebius, which was not only translated but also supplemented by St. Jerome, and which is to be found today in the Bodleian Library in Oxford, is a description of human history beginning with Adam and Eve and following through to the year 379 CE. In the Chronicle, for the first time, various events of Greek and Roman history are shown on a table with a continuous temporal axis. The book thus reflects the construction of historical continuity and an attempt to bridge over the unavoidable gaps. The basic theme of continuity and discontinuity of different systems of belief is also taken up in other works of Cramer. A continuous series of sculptural works entitled Sculpture I-V (2010-12) shows fundamental geometric forms and bodies, which initiate various associations through their semantic and spatial relationships. A series of photographs, often landscapes and animals, focuses on passing moments in which tensions become visible along temporal or spatial poles either inside the photographs or between adjacent photographs. Many of the works are characterised by a trend towards dim and mysterious melancholy. Even though the artist is doubtlessly pursuing a romantic flight from the rush of the city into nature, he nonetheless always remains a rational observer with the camera. He maintains this approach not least by means of the stimulus of scientific methods and insights, based on observation of the world. Seeking the last remaining secrets of human existence, he creates counterpoints to the assumed certainties of a merely rational perception of the world. Considering the extremely rapid development, so difficult to follow, of purposefully rational, scientific knowledge they turn to fundamental philosophical questions of human existence, where the poetic and the mysterious have an equally important status.

Daniel Gustav Cramer studied at the Royal College in London from 2001 to 2003. After graduation he presented his works in numerous solo exhibitions in galleries (BolteLang Zürich, Vera Cortes Lissabon), institutions (Dortmunder Kunstverein, 2010; The Return, Dublin, 2010; Goethe Institute London, 2007; Casa d’os Dias da Agua, Lisbon, 2005), and in group exhibitions (Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, 2012; South London Gallery, 2011; Forde, Geneva, 2011; Museum Moyland, 2010; Athens Biennale, 2009; Berlin Biennale, 2008). In 2012 he will exhibit his works in the Badisch Kunstverein Karlsruhe and the Lisbon Art Gallery (in collaboration with Haris Epaminonda). The Kunsthaus Glarus is presenting Cramer’s first institutional exhibition in Switzerland.

On the occasion of the exhibition there is a publication of the artist entitled Tales 13, part of an ongoing series of publications by Daniel Gustav Cramer.

Tags: Daniel Gustav Cramer, Haris Epaminonda