Clemens Behr was born in 1985 in Koblenz, Germany. He studied Graphic Design at the University of Applied Sciences Dortmund, Germany, and then went on to study at the Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat de Belles Artes, in Spain, and is currently studying fine arts at UdK in Berlin.
Behr is currently based in Berlin, but travels consistently, leaving amazing installations wherever he goes. He creates sculpturally inspired installations in both public and interior environments, utilizing found recycled ephemera as well as basic building materials. His abstract installations, composed of cardboard, wood, paint, tape and found materials, often result in subtle confusions between 2D painting and 3D objects.
With a background in graffiti and having studied as a graphic designer, Behr creates sculpture in an architecturally deconstructionist style. His influences include origami, spontaneous chance, and a deep interest in the environment in which his installations are displayed. His work is a realization of the progressive nature of our art form. One can see how he attacks a space or wall, leaving an impression the same way he might have when he painted a wall as a graffiti writer. The energy and size of his work mixes with the ephemeral state of his installations. To be able to transform walls and space into temporary sculptures, knowing they will be destroyed or taken down, is something you get used to as a graffiti artist creating public works. So, it’s no surprise that he takes this same approach to his installations.
The impromptu nature of his work, reflecting the palette of the environment it’s installed in, or common everyday material found in its immediate surroundings, provides the artist with inspiration. Behr’s work walks the fine line of chaos, yet brings perfect moments of clarity.
About his art, Behr states, “My work is complicated, inexpensive and improvised…My process all begins with the space, which acts as a basis for planning. The space defines the colors and shapes, as well as any fixing or mounting possibilities and the dimensions of the piece. I can’t plan that much in advance, because I can never be certain which possibilities and machinery will be available for me to use. Once I have the composition or an idea of the finished piece visualized in my head, I usually begin to paint the cardboard. Then a wooden frame is screwed together onto which the cardboard will be fixed. This occurs very haphazardly. Before I travel to cities like Delhi or Marrakech I do no preparation before. I just look at the city’s colors and shapes and try to adopt it in to my work. In general, the way I work should be a kind of transformation of the architecture. It pulls everything apart and assembles it in a new geometrical disorder. The source of my inspiration can definitely be traced back to the work of Marcel Duchamp and Kurt Schwitters, and I would name Gordon Matta-Clark as my favorite artist.”
2012: Special Purpose Solutions, Rojo Artspace, Milan; Arkershus Kunstsenter, Lilleström / Norway; Rojo Nova, Barcelona; Rojo Nova, Sao Paulo; India Art Fair, New Delhi; 2011: Simple is Rare, Neurotitan Gallery, Berlin; Rojo Nova, Sao Paulo; Stroke Urban Art Fair, Postbahnhof, Berlin; D´accord, Neon Chocolate Gallery, Berlin; Run Vie, Museumsquartier, Vienna; Sommerloch, Wuppertal / Germany; Kulturnische, Witten / Germany; Awaln Art Festival, Marrakesch / Morocco; Artists At Home And Abroad, Broadway Gallery, New York; Jatkot, Myymälä2, Helsinki; Rojo Nova, Rio de Janeiro; Bedtime Duologues, Mechelen / Belgium; 2010: Lieux-Communs, Namur / Belgium; Flat Forest, Sun Gallery, Munich; Avalanche, CPG Dortmund, Germany; Black White Everything (And Me), Rojo Artspace, Barcelona; 2009: Galerie Seize, Marseille / France; 2008: Heimat Design Shop, Gallery Dortmund, Germany.
Reference Notes: Information and texts compiled by Alison Tara from the artists website (www.clemensbehr.com), an article from graffuturism.com, and interviews with the artist on thehundredsinthehands.com, urbanartcore.eu, and zeitgeist.liganova.com.