Ute Klophaus

Ute Klophaus, Celtic (Kinlock Rannoch) Schottische Symphonie mit Henning Christiansen, 1999

Ute Klophaus, Celtic (Kinlock Rannoch) Schottische Symphonie mit Henning Christiansen, 1999

The German photographer Ute Klophaus (b.1940, Germany) is best known for her extraordinary photographic documentation of Joseph Beuys’s performances in the late 1960s and early ’70s. She is also a compelling artist in her own right. No doubt Beuys chose her to record his events because of the unusually expressive and material quality of her images.

When we recall performances like Explaining Pictures to a Dead Hare or Manressa it is invariably Klophaus’s images that come to mind. The particular printing quality she has evolved emphasises the alchemical aspect of the photographic print. This emphasis on the photographic trace has been adapted by other German artists, including Anselm Kiefer and Sigmar Polke.

For TRACE, Klophaus exhibited 20 early photographs documenting Beuys’s performance of Celtic in Edinburgh in 1970. Her own artistic practice has often been more concerned with the architectural spaces of cities than with people and action, yet the photographic details of streets and buildings have the same atmospheric quality as the performance images. They capture the sense of time passed and of ghostly presences. Her commissioned documentary images of the celebrations at Weimar are haunting examples of this.

Ute Klophaus at Liverpool Biennial 1999

Celtic (Kinlock Rannoch) Schottische Symphonie mit Henning Christiansen, 
26-30 August 1970, 1999
Photographic series
Courtesy of the artist