Matter of aggression
(The Consumer, part II)

paper & plastics
on timber panel
56 cm x 61 cm
June 2007

A picture frame is often a modest add-on to a work of art. Not here. Von Kleist carefully crafted it from sacking that is perhaps 100 years old, found in a shed. He applied several layers, soaking them heavily in silver paint. Artificial shadows create a theatrical effect.

At first glance the image itself is subdued, almost poetical. Its colours are subtle and pale, apart from the orange-and-black elements billowing upwards from the bottom left-hand corner. And even those seem elegant and handsome, like marbled paper. Arabesques, purely made for decoration.

They’re nothing of the sort. They were part of the top coating on a JCB. Von Kleist cut them off with a penknife. Only afterwards did he discover their pretty underside. He had no compunction about his action because he saw the digger as “a predator among agricultural machines, tearing into the ground, often without any regard for what’s there. Very aggressive.”

He felt the same about the centrepiece of the picture. At least in its original state. When Von Kleist found the squashed tetra pack near a supermarket, he thought of it as a missile. A destructive comet. “Someone had obviously thrown it away with great force; vividly coloured juice was splattered all over a car. I used to cycle a lot when I lived in Amsterdam. People chucked objects from their cars without a second thought. Really dangerous. Besides, some aspects of the unending process of consumption I find genuinely aggressive. It is almost impossible to escape going to a supermarket. Or being surrounded by adverts and commercials. It’s also a bit sick to swallow all kinds of synthetic substances that could potentially cause disease, even death. But many consumables are marketed as if they are some magic formula that will enhance your life. And if you’re not careful, you become a throwaway product yourself. A sausage or a spongy bread roll.”










      Photo by Suzana Zalokar   BACK