Klavs Weiss – Get working, PRINT!
Selected works 1987-2019
December 1, 2019 – March 1, 2020
Young people in Vejen and nearby will get a completely new orientation on what art is and where it comes from, when they meet Klavs Weiss’ subtle world presented in the exhibition ‘PRINT’. It will be gradually opened during the month of December. The cumulative exhibition will stand in full flower from December 26 as a solo exhibition that can be enjoyed by all visitors to the museum. They are of course welcome to follow its development as it is opened day by day up to Christmas.
Klavs Weiss (born in Sønderborg in 1956) has specialised in graphic art and printing, but using media far from the classic etching and lithography that people usually associate with printing. He goes his own way and invents his own idiosyncratic printing techniques.
Cracked discs of tree trunks also reveal possibilities
Printing with discs of wood, branches and twigs is quite simple and straightforward but untraditional. And his ‘print shoes’ = extra soles with letters carved under them for visitors’ shoes is totally unexpected. These were used in Mainz in the year 2000 during the celebration of the invention of the printing press. Klavs Weiss called his contribution ‘A free graphic play with moveable people and types – celebrating the birthday of Johannes Gutenberg’. Exhibition guests hopping round with the letters HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHANNES under their shoes was a sight for sore eyes. The artist saw that their way of walking changed radically when they discovered they had become printers!
A print can also be combed or raked into being with a unique tool constructed by the artist and fitted with teeth of pencil or graphite, which gradually tease the motif into being as the leads are dragged over the contours of the motif with suitable pressure. Confused?! Come along to Vejen Art Museum and see the works and how they come alive!
Klavs Weiss presented a peaceful protest at a premiere in Dale in Norway in 2005. It has since been subtly developed. He has constructed his own vehicle powered by indoor fireworks; the rear wheels coated in printing ink run out the text: ‘The only purpose this sentence has is that its length expresses the power of a peaceful bomb’. He has produced variations of the mobile printing machine with assorted balloons to power them.
Klavs Weiss with his ‘printing shoe’ in 2000 with part of the text: Happy birthday Johannes.
A suitcase full of printing blocks and their prints is on loan to the exhibition, and a balloon-powered printing machine tested in Japan in 2007.
Klavs Weiss has experimented with printing machines powered by indoor fireworks such as this one since 2005. The large wheels coated in printing ink produce the text: ‘The only purpose this sentence has is that its length expresses the power of a peaceful bomb’.
Klavs Weiss’ combination of a craftsman’s ingenuity with a passion for wood and machinery is demonstrated by his specially constructed mobile printing machines. Its apotheosis in this exhibition is the more than four meter long Wave Bench from 2012. When the handle is turned, a complicated system of staggered cogwheels mounted on a long axle is activated. This sets off a wave-like movement in the mirror-clothed slats. You experience something like the refraction of light on the surface of the sea.
Karen Havskov Jensen’s video from 2013 shows the Wave Bench in motion
Klavs Weiss has been living and working in Nees in Western Jutland since 1979. Many know him in a totally different connection. Together with Karen Havskov Jensen and a group of intellectually curious people, he participated in founding the society known as ET4U. Based in the area around Bøvlingbjerg and Nees, ET4U has arranged many exhibitions, artist meetings, and most recently the two important video festivals ‘Meetings’, with international participation. You can read more about Klavs Weiss here: http://klavsweiss.dk
Advent Calendar Exhibitions
Vejen Art Museum has chosen this year’s guest artist – the 24th in succession. A special concept has been developed each December in a dialogue with a contemporary artist. The idea behind it is to reveal a day’s take on what Niels Hansen Jacobsen (1861-1941), sculptor and founding figure of the museum, might have made, if he had been alive today.
As the name Advent Calendar Exhibition suggests, it is the framework for 24 works, which are revealed day by day up to Christmas. Each day’s work in the calendar is opened by those who have applied to do so – chosen among children and young people, who are the museum’s future visitors. The opportunity to communicate artistically with this young public specially inspires artists to accept the invitation to show and often give a completely new view of their work.
Every December since 1995 600-900 young people have experienced an unexpected meeting with contemporary art. The years have demonstrated great variation: 1995 Pontus Kjerrman, 1996 Niels Guttormsen, 1997 Bjørn Nørgaard, 1998 Erik Heide, 1999 Eric Erlandsen, 2000 Art of Heart, 2001 Sigrid Lütken, 2002 Niels Hansen Jacobsen, 2003 Bagværk med glasur (‘Baked with a Glaze’), 2004 Lys sky pandekage (‘Light Cloud Pancake’) , 2005 John Olsen, 2006 Susanne Whittingham, 2007 Snowfall, 2008 Morten Steen Hebsgaard, 2009 Peter Carlsen, 2010 Eva Steen Christensen, 2011 Marianne Jørgensen, 2012 Glasurglæder (‘Joys of Glaze’), 2013 Betroet Tvivl (‘Confession of Doubt’), 2014 Esben Klehman, 2015 Gudrun Hasle, 2016 Sophus Ejler Jepsen, 2017 Camilla Berner, 2018 Anders Bruun Møller.
Read more about the Advent Calendar exhibitions here: http://www.vejenkunstmuseum.dk/Dansk/udstillinger/juleudstillinge.htm
Process and End Result
Klavs Weiss has been invited to the Vejen Art Museum to a mutually profitable dialog about the concept of exhibition and choice of works. The museum’s presenter, sculptor Sophus Ejler Jepsen, has participated in this dialogue. The great advantage is that we achieve a new form of communication specifically for this particular exhibition; only time can tell what the visiting school classes get the chance of trying out on their way into the universe of Klavs Weiss!
The basic idea is the same, year after year, but the physical expression is eternally new. The common ground is a dialogue about the choice of works – which may well be retrospective – and
which often gives the artist on reflection a surprising ‘Now I see it!’ experience. He or she participates in arranging and creating the exhibition in the museum here in Vejen. The artist is responsible for numbering the 24 chosen works. Klavs Weiss has used his typical subtle ingenuity to find a special solution: stenciled numbers from 1 to 24 on the hinged flaps, which are opened day by day.
The process of construction of the southern wing of the museum has been an obstacle. This exhibition will stand in the middle of the Skibelund Hall in the museum, where Klavs Weiss replaces Hanne Hastrup and Circleen. This room was Niels Hansen Jacobsen’s studio in the years 1914-1938. It was built as a copy of the Sculpture Hall of ‘Den Frie’, (‘The Free Exhibition’, an alternative artists’ association founded in Copenhagen in 1891). Niels Hansen Jacobsen took part in getting the Copenhagen sculpture hall built in 1905 – and had his own copy made in 1914!
Klavs Weiss employs the Jutland peninsula in many different forms.
Jutland lies spread about the corner of his workshop as extraneous material and stages of a process. The accumulations of the artistic process giving a glimpse of how work develops are also part of the exhibition at the Vejen Art Museum.
Cut-offs – Bonus Material
The temporary exhibition space available at the museum does not leave much room for the 24 exhibition cases, which normally enshrine the Calendar. While checking out the buildings and surroundings, Klavs Weiss has found various materials, and has arranged the exhibition as a look into the workshop. Included are what you could call cut-offs. As he explains it, ‘Leftovers – remains – leavings (what is left creates art)… in the world of graphics, what is cut away is traditionally blank, and what has been untouched becomes black…’ These tableaus of cut-aways or cast-offs of things that are laid to one side during a process give the exhibition an extra dimension similar to the ‘bonus features’ in films.
Teresa Nielsen, director of the museum, October 2019
Gertrude Stein is known for the maxim: ‘A rose is a rose is a rose’. Here a flower is supposedly a flower … and yet! The petals are the Jutland peninsula. Klavs Weiss has created five overlapping prints of the wood-cut with the peninsula with a fixed centre. The eye lets itself be tricked?!
Klavs Weiss was born in Sønderborg. For years he has lived and worked in Nees. Both places are on the Jutland peninsula. It turns up in many of his projects – also with a special greeting to Alberto Giacometti. The Jutland peninsula on a cart is a paraphrase over Giacometti’s sculpture in Holstebro.
Klavs Weiss sees printing possibilities in material that no-one else has perceived before. The inner tube of a bicycle is placed in a box with its valve sticking out. It is pumped up, and each time the tube unfolds in random fashion. A print of each one captures these infinite variations: ‘Graphic Ballet for Bicycle Tube’.