Christoph Knecht at Van der Grinten Galerie

Artist: Christoph Knecht

Exhibition title: Yad Chen

Venue: Van der Grinten Galerie, Cologne, Germany

Date: September 7 – November 2, 2019

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Van der Grinten Galerie

The work of Christoph Knecht is fuelled by an inexhaustible curiosity about the cultural phenomena

that he and all of us constantly encounter in the form of visual codes, metaphors and messages, and the aesthetics of the everyday. With his extraordinary mastery of a highly diverse array of artistic techniques (painting, various print processes, bronze casting, ceramics, drawing…) the artist manages to very subtly combine current themes that stimulate our historic-cultural consciousness. This particular aspect was displayed to great effect in 2017 at the last Knecht solo show at the Van der Grinten Galerie: the installation ‘Europa’ consisted of 3000 hand-painted and kiln-fired tiles that transformed the space into one big cohesive artwork of friezes and tableaux.

The first work in the Yad Chen series was created within the framework of a grant residency in Israel that culminated in a show at the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art (2015). That piece would become the

germinating seed of the paintings in the current show. The artist was inspired by the logo of a hand cream called Yad Chen that had come on the market in the early years of the state of Israel and is reminiscent of the aesthetics also found on the first Shekel coins and the postage stamps of the founding era. Such commercial art featured flowers and the fruits of the earth as the symbol of asserting a new and vital existence.

The immediate experience of the socio-political-religious situation in Israel, with its attendant omnipresent conflict potential, prompted the artist to create images outside the realm of party political affiliations, works that manage to create a poetical fabric woven of confrontation and dialogue. Under the skillful hand of Christoph Knecht the decorative rose of the original pack-art, balanced on the fingertips of the hand on the cream tube, thus becomes a plant with leaves that form phrases in Arabic, which can also be read as shadows: those versed in Arabic script will see Alhamdullilah – thank God, Allahu Akbar – God is greater, Inshallah –if it be God’s will, etc…. In addition to paintings, Christoph Knecht here shows sculptural ceramic works that also originated

during his stay in Israel, as well as the series ‘Ramallah Cat’, which also began in Israel and has continued, with the most recent works made this year

Christoph Knecht was born in 1983 in Karlsruhe and graduated from the Master Class of Peter Doig at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorfer in 2012. He lives and works in Düsseldorf.

Christoph Knecht, Yad Chen, Van der Grinten Galerie, Cologne

Christoph Knecht, Yad Chen, Van der Grinten Galerie, Cologne

Christoph Knecht, Yad Chen, Van der Grinten Galerie, Cologne

Christoph Knecht, Yad Chen, Van der Grinten Galerie, Cologne

Christoph Knecht, Yad Chen, Van der Grinten Galerie, Cologne

Christoph Knecht, Inshallah, 2019, Oil on canvas, 135 x 130 cm

Christoph Knecht, nshallah, 2019, Oil on canvas, 170 x 170 cm

Christoph Knecht, Mashallah, 2016, Oil and acrylic on Canvas, 185 x 200 cm

Christoph Knecht, o.T. (Küssende Kamele), 2015, Acrylic on Canvas, 18 x 24 cm

Christoph Knecht, Subhan-Allah  2016, Oil and acrylic on Canvas, 180 x 200 cm

Christoph Knecht, Subhan-Allah, 2019, Ink and acrylic on Canvas, 210 x 170 cm