'KLARA BARBARA I, 2018, video still, 18'00"
Born Tokyo (JP), 1981
Maria Kley reflects on human existence by researching various ways to materialise experiences and relationships. Through conversation and observation she explores the inner worlds of the people she meets, which usually results in abstract portraits. These works are rooted in material that often originates from the subject’s surroundings. The applied techniques are carefully adapted to each individual, which allows her work to manifest itself in various media: sculpture, installation, print, and video. Extensive material research precedes each work.
The artist purposefully makes room for the subject to participate in the tactile creation process. Kley’s portraits can thus be seen as compressed biographies, as well as a materialisation of the shared time and interaction between the artist and her subject. The works she presents at RijksakademieOPEN 2018 collectively form a portrait of her grandmother Klara Barbara, who recently died at the age of 104. Her grandmother’s collection of worn-out silk scarves, given to Kley years ago, form the basic material for a set of works that include two sculptures and a video piece in which mourning, family ties, and homage converge in a character sketch that simultaneously investigates mortality and resilience.