Felix Kultau
Laura Schawelka
Malte Zenses

15.04. - 02.06.2018
artist talk with Dr. York Kautt: 03.05.2018, 19 h
opening hours: Wednesday till Sunday 11-18 h


The Kunstverein Kassel presents three artistic positions that deal with the dynamics of a digitized and globalized consumer society on different levels. UNLUST PRINZIP asks for an attitude that actively engages the strategies of seduction of mass consumption and the sublimation of material things as well as the technological individual and collective upgrades.

Felix Kultau uses elements of pop, sub and consumer culture. His objects and installations consist mainly of cool materialities of the rationalized, industrialized contemporary society. Glass, steel, metal, wood, aluminum, glass showcases or shipping container doors are recombined and re-designed by the artist. Despite the modulations, the symbolic references of the product remain. Behind smooth surfaces, decay and traces of human activity appear. Kultau liberates his objects from industrial aesthetics and fetishization, thereby simultaneously creating something new in a language of forms that triggers another, less illusory desire. He plays with references to a dystopian / utopian scenario found in books and films of the cyberpunk movement. As a result, his objects and installations bring the visions close to us.

In her installations, photographic and video works, Laura Schawelka uses the paradox of images that move between illusion and reality. She transforms images of objects that seduce us in consumer everyday life by questioning and deconstructing photography, which serves as an instrument for seduction and triggers desire. The simulation of the presence of things through images extends both the moment of pleasure and the desire for pleasure gratification through their material absence. In her most recent work, the artist examines the functions and systems of product presentation of shop window in department stores. How does the consumption-oriented, digital lifestyle affect them? Department stores and shopping arcades, as Walter Benjamin describes them in his “Passagen”, were cathedrals of mass consumption in 19st century. But what significance do they have in 21st century, where consumer behavior happens mainly online, in the absence of tangible, material things? Is our desire mainly evoked by dematerialized, synthetic images, making it even less tangible?

Malte Zenses obtains his spatial installations, consisting of painting, sculpture and sound, from a repertoire of subjective experience, from which he refers to the world. He translates experience and memory fragmentarily into his own system of signs. In particular, the canvas serves as a medium for dealing with words, graphics, color, surface and signs. The blanks used on the canvas create space for projections, associations, memories, emotions, longing and desire. Especially the desire of the observer is addressed in the exhibiting context as a topic, which refers to the exhibited work, and the artist as a producer alike. “As though it were gut”. Five words of brass in a combination of English and German assert a state of mistrust and resignation. “Malte do it!” A voice wakes us from our thoughts. From another corner of the exhibition a looped sound work is noticeable. Consistent and monotonous, the voice affects the self and the installation in front of it. “Malte do it!” - a pressure from outside arises. “Malte do it!” - a pressure that penetrates from the outside to the inside and solidifies there. Zense's works refer poetically and sensitively to a self that moves in a spiral of the upgrade hype of a performance-oriented and consumer-oriented society. At the same time, however, they also refer to a self as an artist who questions his attitude to an art world - with equal, or at least very similar, consumer and performance-oriented structures. 

Olga Holzschuh

Felix Kultau (*1984), lives and works in Berlin
Laura Schawelka (*1988), lives and works in Paris, Los Angeles and Berlin
Malte Zenses (*1987), lives and works in Berlin


The exhibition is supported by the cultural department of the city of Kassel and Volksbank Kassel Göttingen.

The works Untitled (Folds), Untitled (Persimmon) and Untitled (Folds, green) were made possible with the support of Marburger Tapetenfabrik.