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jetzt, 2020
C&K Gallery Berlin

„jetzt“ [„now“] is the title of an exhibition of the German conceptual artist Roland Stratmann, as well as his multi-part sculpture group.

Now, in the early 20s of the new millennium, the political situation worldwide is tense and the fear that the terrible events of the past century (such as the world wars) could repeat themselves is growing. Roland Stratmann has addressed this issue. It is reflected in the new series of works "jetzt" and "Larven". For the latter, Stratmann has collected postcards sent from the battlefield between 1914-1918 and superimposed them with motifs of demonic clown masks.

In German, the word "Larve" [“Larva”] has a double meaning and originally denotes a mask or a ghost, as well as the unmasking - the exposure - of a person who is trying to hide his or her true identity. The figure of the evil clown already appears in Edgar Allan Poes Hop-Frog, Stephen Kings novel character Pennywise or the US comic adaptation Joker. Since the 1980s, the so-called horror clown phenomenon has been known, in which unsuspecting passers-by are frightened and terrified. The "mask", for example in the Italian Commedia dell arte or the "make-up masks" of the traditional Chinese Beijing opera, which can also be seen in Stratmanns "PostCuts" from the series "Homunkuli", provide information about the character of a role.

Stratmann succeeds in interweaving the horrors of history with our perception of the present. The memory fragments of the postcards sent from the frontline, combined with the bizarre-looking quotations of everyday life, lead the viewer into the here and now. This also applies to the ceramic sculptures of the "now" series, arranged on flokati and oriented towards kitchen utensils. They hint at the signs of a possible apocalypse in the domestic sphere and point out the thin line from horror vacui to global terror.