Place our bodies at the center of the universe, and later, make each light, force, and movement directly affect it. Then, and only then, will we be able to understand the depth of Klaudia Kemper’s work. An abyss of possibilities and metaphors become real in her pieces in order to revitalize and bring concepts to life through time, space, the universe and the body.
“The body is our material contact with the universe. We are a body, and through it we connect with the outside. The body speaks and expresses itself without interference, without tricks. The mind tricks us, it can tell us that an event doesn’t affect us; the body doesn’t, it gets sick, it suffers,” are the words of Klaudia Kemper, a Chilean-Brazilian artist who sees the body as a union between ourselves and the outside world. It is a border that can be permeated by that which goes through the air, contamination, and also the diverse energies that we run into every day. I remember hearing her say years ago, “my problem with the body is that we are soft,” and sure, if not material contact would cease to exist, and for that matter our characterization as human beings would be confined to endless thought, without limits or definable spaces. This is because our border and our union lie within the body.
And this body is part of what Klaudia has worked with as a visual artist. Her most impressive exhibition was that held in the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Santiago, Chile a few years back. Inmersión is a metaphor of the body and it brings together a large part of the artist’s work from 1990 to 2012. It also alludes to the notion of instinctual and biographic links, such as the importance that the figures from travel, the eye, the stories and the gestural implication hold to her and therefore the body of the creation. Everything, based on five rooms in the museum that were filled with bodies: The first room, with the vital organs referring to the feelings, memory, family and the melancholy of time spent; in room two, vision, which addresses the limits of the self and dilutes the norms that govern its identity, images that show a vague corporal memory. In the third room, feet-legs-muscles, man’s connection with the world, that which allows us to move towards change and transformations, transitoriness, public space, a whole host of metaphors that could be deduced from what the lower part of our body implies. Meanwhile, in the fourth room, the mouth-vocal cords, speech, story, language; and in room five, hands, handiwork, touch, feeling, thought.
Each part of the body represented by different forms, photographs, video installations, objects, among other things, gave life to this project in which Klaudia made a self-portrait and exhibited it to the public. “All of my work is autobiographical. My work implies a kind of immersion and reflection about life processes. That relationship is produced with a certain delay. That is to say, raising awareness has to do with the past, we are aware of the past because the present is still unnoticeable,” she states, while she presents two fundamental concepts: time and space, which are key concepts for human beings and their position in the world. Historically, both are phenomena that are questioned, thought about and then thought about again in order to see how we are joined to both, how we are involved, how they are connected and create the conditions that surround us. Similarly, we find the question regarding what would happen if one of them disappeared.
It is an eternal game that Klaudia has experienced during her journeys through the Atacama desert to go from Chile to Brazil, ever since she was a young girl, and that undoubtedly has helped her to form her ideas about identity and the arduous conceptual work that she has developed as an artist, where words like globalization, body, space, organism and universe seem to be central concepts. “If we extend this concept of’ globalization’, understood as a single global body which is the universe that we are part of, we can rouse awareness of some things: the first thing is that we are not alone, we are part of a larger unit. Next, that we are a minute, small part and, in that sense, day to day things shouldn’t hold as much importance as we tend to give them. And, lastly, that although small, each part of the whole affects everything. That should make us be more aware globally, of others, and of the fact that what happens to someone else also affects me,” explains Klaudia. Regarding this, art helps since “it is a means of expression and communication. That which doesn’t have words can be said through art. Art works by establishing various relationships, like thought, and it hopes to create a bridge from what’s internal to what’s public,” comments the artist.
The old theory of the micro-macrocosms refers to the same thing. The body as a bridge between the being and the universe. A constant representation of that which happens outside, since we, as beings, possess the same thing that the universe has within us. It is through this, that each thing that happens within the universe affects us directly. In the East, they see it very similar; the cosmos govern human beings directly and they are affected by everything that happens outside of them. However, they are conscious, they seem to get lost between technology, movement and that society that Klaudia prefers to mock by taking on a system where creativity is limited. “Society is tyrannical, it makes you believe that there is a correct way and that everything else is wrong,” she explains in a phrase that makes even more sense after thinking about the latest project that she is making, a feature-length documentary that has taken more than two years of work, a reflection about time. In her words, “For six months, I recorded my daily life in my apartment. The challenge was to make a movie without drama, without a script, without action. The camera allowed me to see the present, the passage of time. It is amazing to see small instances that happen from day to day, and that you wouldn’t have ever seen. It is amazing to see that reality has several levels. Our feelings are limited, we can’t hear the beat of our heart, we can’t see microorganisms, or the threshold of color temperatures. Still yet, we believe that we know so much about the universe, our innocence is entertaining.”