The work of Kinki Texas appears like a melting pot of historical fantasy and cowboy portraits- of a weapons school stampede during Rose Wars. This unique aesthetic is a product of his technical process: Motifs and and different states of images are stacked, layer by layer until the perfect image is created. This process may extend over several years, allowing the image to be found amidst in the complex, plastic texture of the work surface, which subsequently becomes an aesthetic event. One is led to imagine what shines through behind the milky surface, decipher what is written, see what is reported, follow the lines and understand the composition – ‘Kinki Texas Space’ presents itself to the viewer as an unparalleled quaint phenomenon.
“In shining armour” – The Twilight of the Heroes in Kinki Texas Space
Their appearance ranges from slightly strange to truly bizarre; some of them have a warlike and at times rather frightening demeanour; they confront the viewer with loaded guns, pose in suits of armour with swords drawn or like Native Americans with headdresses, bows and arrows – the heroic figures in Kinki Texas’s paintings are very peculiar characters! Wallenstein and Lohengrin, the Swedish king Gustav II Adolf and anonymous standard bearers are among those who populate “Kinki Texas Space”. This is what the artist calls his creative universe, which draws as much inspiration from the comic genre as it does from television’s History Channel, employing means of depiction borrowed from graffiti and trash culture as well as from centuries of history painting. In this pictorial realm, a laconic style of painting is directly juxtaposed with thematic bravado.
Presented on large-scale canvases and depicted in vibrant, almost lurid colours, Kinki Texas’s subjects may appear to have been quickly dashed off but have in fact been developed over a period of months. Their lengthy process of creation is only revealed on closer inspection, when the different stages of the picture’s evolution can gradually be traced. These developmental steps are recorded beneath the surface of the image and can occasionally be made out through the upper layers of paint.
While Kinki Texas has a particular theme and subject matter in mind when he begins working on his pictures, he also reacts to what happens during the painting process, with the result that the development of the images can take unexpected turns. He paints, sprays, writes, wipes and scrapes away until he reaches a state where any additional painterly touch would overload the image, but any missing one would make it seem unfinished. The significant factor here is that even the finished pictures have a temporary character and bear no obvious trace of masterly technique or artificiality. As Kinki Texas himself says: “I don’t want my pictures to look skilfully painted…”.
Occasionally the finished work gives an indication of the changes that have been made during the painting process – the way a horse’s head is turned, for example, or how a mounted figure’s attribute has been modified. This reworking of the depicted subjects often goes hand in hand with a thematic reorientation. An initial depiction of a subject can evolve into an independent figure, which then inspires the artist to alter the content of the work. This approach is reflected in the title of the painting “Lohengrin Former Parzival” (ill. p. xx).
The majority of Kinki Texas’s heroes strike a valiant pose and embody a habitus of power. Often depicted on horseback, they remind us of commissioned portraits of political rulers and thus refer to a very traditional art-historical genre. In terms of motif they recall a number of heroic equestrian portraits, ranging from the statue of Marcus Aurelius on the Capitoline Hill in Rome to Albrecht Dürer’s “Knight, Death and the Devil” and Arnold Böcklin’s “The Adventurer”. Kinki Texas’s subjects are often given large canine companions such as Great Danes or greyhounds on chains as attributes of power. In his paintings, however, the supposed power of the depicted heroes is subtly undermined: their skinny limbs and bandaged bodies create an impression of vulnerability and injury, with clots of red paint recalling open wounds. Even the horses seem to have exhaustion and doubt written all over their faces. There is ultimately something tragic about these heroic figures.
The repeated reference in Kinki Texas’s work to the pictorial genre of the ruler portrait raises a number of questions. Is he attempting to revive this time-honoured genre? Or is he in fact going to such artistic lengths in order to ironise, dismiss or demolish it? It seems as if Kinki Texas has projected his thoughts on the fundamental themes of his work – such as power, its visible expression, its representation and the associated appropriation of symbols – into what might be termed a ‘hypothetical realm’. This is a realm where questions might be asked as to the hypothetical commissioning of Kinki Texas’s works: what self-image would a ruler have who chose to have his powerful status portrayed in paintings like those described here? What would his residence look like if the walls of its impressive interiors were adorned with paintings like those created by Kinki Texas? Above all, questions could be asked about the type of power structure in which Kinki Texas would be successful as a painter of commissioned works.
The artist himself, whose impressive historical knowledge becomes evident in conversation, is not interested in using artistic means to formulate a critique of power; in his view, art cannot replace political discourse. In the open space of art, however – in the discursive construction of that ‘hypothetical realm’ – the depicted subjects can be examined from different angles; here, banality can be charged with meaning, grandeur can be rendered banal and Perceval can turn into Lohengrin.
That is why things never get boring in Kinki Texas Space. Swords rattle, stirring battle cries ring out (“On your knees!”) and horses appear with their riders “in shining armour”…. It is, quite simply, the twilight of the heroes.
1969: born in Bremen/ DE since 1987: solo and group exhibitions since 1994: working in digital techniques since 1999: three-dimensional animations, video installations and music videos 2005: Magister degree in cultural studies and philosophy at the University of Bremen/ DE
Solo exhibitions (selection)
2000: Eat me Texas, Galerie Fruchtig, Frankfurt (Main)/ DE 2002: Kinky-Texas, Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, Frankfurt (Main)/ DE 2003: Rio Lobo Motion, Saloon, Ghost Town Lobo, Texas/ USA 2007: Tuoni e fulmini visivi nel Kinki-Texas-Space, Galleria Bianca Maria Rizzi, Milan/ IT; Charge Festival, Bialystok/ PL 2008: Low, Low, Low Society, Galerie Goethe 2, Bolzano/ IT; Texas Anno Zero, Il Torchio Galleria D’Arte, Milan/ IT 2009: Kinki Texas, Galerie Schriever, Köln/ DE 2010: Cannibale Grande, Galleria Bianca Maria Rizzi, Milan/ IT; dead love, Galleria Contemporanea, Parma/ IT; Anti-Anti-Kunst, Cuxhavener Kunstverein (Art Club), Cuxhaven/ DE 2011: Landscapes of Power, Galerie Schriever, Köln/ DE 2012: Sad King Billy, Galerie Martina Kaiser, Köln/ DE 2013: 1000 Ponies sind nicht genug, Galerie Goethe, Bolzano/ IT 2014: Beutekunst, Projektraum Knut Osper, Köln/ DE 2015: 24h-cinema, Oxholm Gallery, Kopenhagen/ DA
Group exhibitions (selection)
2000: Elvis Art, TipTop INN – Galerie, Bremen/ DE 2004: Screen Spirit, Städtische Galerie, Bremen/ DE; Ecktion, Art-Space Ecktion, Sielwall, Bremen/ DE 2005: Tattoo-Studio, Installation mit Swann Schilling, Profile Intermedia 8, Bremen/ DE; Unsere kleine Farm, (mit Anja Fussbach), Galerie im Park, Bremen/ DE 2006: Etnie, Gruppenausstellung, Palazetto Durini, Mailand/ IT; Hansepol, Curator: Agit Polska Hansepol, Hamburg/ DE; Allarmi 2, Caserma Di Christoforis, Como/ IT; Fuoco Amico, Chiastro di Sant´Eufemia, piazzolo Terragni 4, Como/ IT; Mangiatori Di Patate, (mit Julia von Troschke) Galleria Bianca Maria Rizzi, Milan/ IT 2007: Segni Viaggio nel disegno contemporaneo, Endemica Arte Contemporanea, Rom/ IT; Deviant Art Festival, Konsthallen Trollhättan, Trollhättan/ SE; Kargart Video Festivali, KARGART EXHIBITION SPACE, Istanbul/ TU 2008: La Nocturne Rive droit, Galerie Memmi, Paris/ F; Teaser a short preview into 2008, Galerie Goethe 2, Bolzano/ IT 2009: 6. Bremer Kunstfrühling, Gleishalle Güterbahnhof, Bremen/ DE; Footage on the move, Ruimte Frank Boni, Antwerpen/ BE; Urban Attitudes, Video installation, Tube Gallery Stazione Loreto Metropolitana, Milan/ IT 2010: Psycho Pompös, (mit Monsieur Zupika), Gdansk City Gallery, Gdansk/ PL; Com-x, Kro Art Contemporary, Wien/ AT; 32. Bremer Förderpreis für Bildende Kunst 2009, Städtische Galerie, Bremen /DE 2011: In Bewegung, (with Francesco Bocchini), Galerie Goethe, Bolzano/ IT; 7. Bremer Kunstfrühling, BBK, Gleishalle Güterbahnhof, Bremen/ DE; Highlights, Cuxhavener Kunstverein, Cuxhaven/ DE; Young Europaen Landscape, Galerie Wolfsen, Aalborg/ DA 2012: Goethe meets Goethe2, Galerie Goethe 2, Bolzano/ IT; Draw the line, Liebkranz Galerie, Berlin/ DE; Privatbesitz, Städtische Galerie, Bremen/ DE 2013: New Positions – New Works, Projektraum Knut Osper, Köln/ DE; Schlaglichter, Artdocks, Bremen/ DE 2014: If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?, Stux Gallery, New York/ USA; Psychogram, Galleri Oxholm, Kopenhagen/ DA; THISISNOTASHOP, Temporärer Kunstverein, Bremen/ DE 2015: Artists of the gallery, Alessandro Casciaro Art Gallery, Bolzano/ IT; HEITER BIS WOLKIG, Galerie Anja Knoess, Köln/ DE