Stefan Kraus is an artist, art psychotherapy trainee and designer based in London. Over two decades he has been practising drawing rigorously and performed a number of public performances. He believes that there is nothing that is major or revolutionary except the minor and therefore aims to experience himself as a sort of stranger within his own language.*
*Kafka: Towards a Minor Literature, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guatarri
Missing Messenger, Milton Keynes Gallery, March 2015
Tango, London, July 2013
Homage to Saint Thomas Becket, Canterbury, 2011
Narr, Ash Wednesday, London, 2011
Homenaje a Santa Teresa, Avila, Spain, 2010
The Sleeping Soldier, CITRIC Gallery, Brescia, Italy, 2008
Calling 2015, Milton Keynes Gallery
If you could, It’s Nice That, A Foundation, London, 2010
Venezia Tre, Touring group show organized by the Hochschule der Bildenden Künste Saar, curated by Prof Jo Enzweiler, Associazione Culturale Italo-Tedesca Venezia, Italy and Saarländische Galerie Berlin, Germany
A Party for Boris, CITRIC Gallery, Brescia, Italy
Boris XVIII, 32pp, 297 x 210 mm, Edition 20, 2020
Boris XVII, 32pp, 297 x 210 mm, Edition 20, 2019
Boris XVI, 32pp, 297 x 210 mm, Edition 20, 2018
Boris XV, 28pp, 297 x 210 mm, Edition 20, 2017
Boris XIV, 32pp, 297 x 210 mm, Edition 20, 2016
Boris XIII, 36pp, 297 x 210 mm, Edition 20, 2015
Boris XII, 64pp, 297 x 210 mm, Edition 20, 2014
Boris XI, 36pp, 297 x 210 mm, Edition 20, 2013
Boris X, 36pp, 297 x 210 mm, Edition 20, 2012
Boris IX, 36pp, 297 x 210 mm, Edition 20, 2011
Line Drawings of Wooden Objects, 24pp, 297 x 210 mm, Edition 10, 2009
Boris VIII, 40pp, 297 x 210 mm, Edition 30, 2010
Boris VII, 44pp, 297 x 210 mm, Edition 30, 2009
Boris VI, 44pp, 297 x 210 mm, Edition 30, 2008
Boris V, 44pp, 297 x 210 mm, Edition 50, 2007
Boris IV, 40pp, 210 x 148.5 mm, Edition 25, 2006
Boris III, 40pp, 210 x 148.5 mm, Edition 20, 2003
Boris II, 40pp, 210 x 148.5 mm, Edition 20, 2000
Boris I, 32pp, 210 x 148.5 mm, Edition 20, 1997
Sicily, 13min, 2001
Ada, 40min, 2007
Ada, film still, 2007
UNDER THE DIALECTIC OF SALVATION
by Daria D. Pervain
(A Party for Boris, Citric Gallery, 2008)
Stefan Kraus favours the drawing as initial language within his work. It is the medium which most promptly responds to immediacy, a space apparently incorruptible, where the line can exactly remain what it is.
Stefan Kraus's drawings are even more surprising since they can be corrupted: the artist can transform them into objects, and he can bring these objects back into two-dimensional space. This dual nature seems to be a necessary condition for Kraus's entire body of work, where the border between the real and the non-real is broken, and the archetype becomes an almost tangible presence.
With an unusual appetite for visual semiotics, Stefan Kraus seems, in a very specific sense, an iconophile. Interested in the sublime nature of things and using a highly personal ontological vocabulary fed by several pre-conceptions about reality ('the space within my drawings is as real as the space we call reality'), the artist distills a visual alchemy for moments of metaphysical anxiety.
In the context of his works (either drawing, painting, sculpture or performance), the title of the exhibition A Party for Boris*, inspired by the homonymous play by the controversial Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard, can be understood as the pretext for an episode of exorcism: in the sense of relieving the absurd, the exaggeration, the negation and the dialogue with death. The space created by Kraus, inscribed within Thomas Bernhard‚Äôs colossal umbrella, opens up a dialectic of salvation: the works are silently conciliating and inviting the spectator to a poetic, introspective approach.
Stefan Kraus takes a fictitious initiatory route: from the performance of The Sleeping Soldier (which descends from a Christian metaphor), to the paintings and archetypal drawings, to the sculptural object Arches. We are in a locus amoenus, where emotions, cultural symbols and inner visions of reality seen as mental projections are interwoven. Nothing ostentatious or explicit; instead, a deeply intellectual attitude that interrogates the symbolic nature of things and at the same time instigates revelation.
* A Party for Boris by Thomas Bernhard, 1969. This play is a grotesque, nihilist drama, populated by defective characters, built around a macabre birthday party for the legless Boris and thirteen fellow cripples.