Johannes Kahrs - Contemporary Art Part I New York Wednesday, May 13, 2009 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Almine Rech, Paris

  • Catalogue Essay

    "People sometimes say the way things happen in movies is unreal, but actually it’s the way things happen to you in real life, that’s unreal. The movies make emotions look so strong and real, whereas when things really happen to you, it’s like watching television—you don’t feel anything," (Andy Warhol quoted in J. Kahrs, Why don’t you paint my portrait?, Bremen, 1999, p. 41).
    Johannes Kahrs’ powerful paintings take images culled from photography and film stills as their starting point. He chooses fragments of images and further removes them from their source by shifting tones and leaving contours blurred to create a mysterious new reality. He does not let us forget that this is, however, an image and not a reality you can enter. He frames his works behind glass as if we are still separated from the inner world of the painting by the medium of a television screen.The present lot, Silent Depression, 1999, portrays a dark moment with the central figure screaming in pain, terror, or explosive anger. Framed by the rounded black corners of the composition into the shape of a television screen, with the Richter-esque blur of a paused video, this image seems like it could be taken from a horror movie. Kahrs uses the fictional reality of a horror movie still to express the inner pain of a psychological state. “So I think that if Johannes is involved, or interested, in those uncanny and dark and terrible areas, then it is because they are areas of the human mind, rather than of actual reality.” (U. Loock, Johannes Kahrs, Images in Painting, Porto, 2005, p. 161).


Silent Depression

Oil on canvas in artist’s frame.
66 7/8 x 86 3/8 in. (170 x 219.5 cm).

Signed and dated “J Kahrs 1999” twice on the reverse.

$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $158,500

Contemporary Art Part I

14 May 2009, 7pm
New York