Johannes Kahrs: Therapy



As the starting point for all his paintings and drawings, Johannes Kahrs uses photos culled from the mass media, advertisements, film stills, and sometimes images from his own photographic archive. Through the use of various pictorial treatments including shifting tones, blurring, cropping, repositioning, fragmenting and erasing, Kahrs abstracts and ambiguates his subjects, while echoes of the original source image remain visible. Disassociated from their original context, any explicit meaning or narrative connected with each subject is suspended – the viewer is left guessing about what exactly is being portrayed and why.

In works like Therapy (stich) (2004), a close-up view of a male torso is presented. The subject has been “beheaded” out of the composition, and the edges of his body blurred into a deep black ground. Through a shift of perspective, the subject in Untitled (2005) also appears to be headless and out-of-focus. In both paintings, Kahrs renders his figure in a fleshy, carnal, bruise-toned palette. The images are imbued with a raw and intense physicality – a sensation of eroticism is mixed with violence.

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