Exhibitions

Daniel Gustav Cramer – Portraits

In the last years Cramer assembled a growing archive of brief as well as epic stories, from the first step on the moon or the sinking of the RMS Titanic to a street musician playing outside a parking lot somewhere in Australia. He looks at moments that stand out as markers in history as much as fleeting instances, unnoticed by most. Yet, what connects each of these accounts is the focus on what is at the event’s fringe.

Exhibition Portraits
Artist(s) Daniel Gustav Cramer
Venue SpazioA, Pistoia
All images Courtesy SpazioA, Pistoia. Photo by Camilla Maria Santini.

I sit in a cafe in Dores on the banks of Loch Ness. Snowflakes aimlessly drift back and forth, melting on the window next to me. In a hotel overlooking the Mediterranean Sea a waiter rushes across the veranda towards a distressed lady at a large table looking at her lap. Traces of car wheels have flattened the grass near a campground outside Katharine, a small town in Australia’s Northern Territory. It is night. Every so often the heater gurgles and coughs. Memories gather on my pillow. A collection of images. Waves, traveling through the dark, across the ocean, spewing their stories at the shores.

This work, Portraits, mirrors realities and possibilities: a graceful act, the value of honesty, a sacrifice, the endurance of lonesomeness. Indirectly, it raises questions: What constitutes friendship? What is the price of care? Are we able to accept and adjust to our destiny? Does grace redefine a person’s fate?  Being in time is the dance of an individual thrown into unforeseen circumstances. The way a person navigates through these turmoils, every decision taken along the way, shapes what becomes his/ her character – and ultimately creates a portrait.

Cramer’s portraits are simple, descriptive texts accompanied by found photographs, letters or other materials. The elements juxtaposed in each work operate like the lines of a Haiku. It is the tension between them that opens the room for thought.

The Portraits evoke the writing of Yasunari Kawabata or Robert Walser and the films of Yasujiro Ozu: a language of restraint that conceals the emotional struggle, a struggle which becomes ever more palpable in the effort of its concealment.

Daniel Gustav Cramer’s works evolve as an ongoing research, like a traveler’s journal that describes the human conditions, they draw their images from a collective experience and our commonly shared memories. Cramer archives collections of Loch Ness monster sightings and the dates a musician performed the same song throughout his life. Through this process he taps into philosophical questions of the experience of time, the formation of language and images and the boundaries of perception.

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Tique | publication on contemporary art #3: Six Questions