• Kurt von Bley

    toys for alice, 2014
    Einmaliger s/w-Druck, Holz, Acryl auf Karton, 23,5 x 31,5 x 0,5 cm
  • toys for alice, 2014
    Einmaliger s/w-Druck, Holz, Acryl auf Karton, 23,5 x 31,5 x 0,5 cm
  • nolite iudicare, ut non iudecemini, 2017
    Schwarzes Silikon auf Postkarte, 8,5 × 14 × 0,5 cm
  • Mother, 2012
    Einmaliger s/w-Druck mit Wachspapier und Faden

Mouches Volantes Cologne | KURT VON BLEY | F44.3

Curated by Dr. Nadia Ismail 23.03. – 20.04.2024

Behind F44.3, the almost casual-sounding title of the solo show by Polish-German artist Kurt von Bley, lies the ICD code for trance and obsessive states. The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, or ICD for short, is a globally recognized system in which medical diagnoses are uniformly named.

At the heart of the exhibition at Mouches Volantes is a critical examination of the religious dogmas of Catholicism and its immanent set of rules, on which sometimes draconian rituals are based. The artist resolutely focuses on the hidden side of exorcism practices. At the same time, he looks at the psychosomatic explanations of conventional medicine and visually processes the contrasts of obsession and its social effects.

Kurt von Bley

The Berlin-based artist Kurt von Bley (born 1976 in Poland) creates work with focus on the theme of „Identity“: the search and loss thereof.

He prefers to express his thoughts and inner images through three-dimensional representation. He works with old family photos, which he transforms in his various artistic processes into objects using also household items and objets trouvés, which are alienated and detached from their original function and origin.

His preference to work in 3-D and to create tangible objects is possibly stirred by his own search for identity, the longing for this „something“ tangible to be utterly reachable and in front of him.

In addition to his 3-D works and installations, photographic pieces form a large portion of von Bley’s body of work. Here, many of the photos come from the private family photo albums. These are then changed and manipulated through the use of various techniques, including collage-like assemblage of various pictorial elements, sewing and embroidering over the photos, pasting, marking, or treating them with wax. This detaches the photographs from their two-dimensionality and transforms them into sculptural, object-like structures.

Sawing and embroidery – culturally and historically activities, under the collective term „handicrafts,“ associated with women – play a central role in this transformative process of his photos and negatives.  In these „stitched“ works, Kurt von Bley achieves visual results that are different in connotations and content from their „traditional“ interpretation.

The tedious attempt to create an identity interests Kurt von Bley as much as the question of how stable such a newly created identity can be. This painful search for it, is reflected in the stitched pictures, in which the faces are masked, altered or even completely concealed, but must somehow be patched up…

The motive of being a stranger in an ethnically homogenous environment, run like  (red) thread through much of his works… Likely steming from his own biography (born into a family of German descend in Upper Silesia – a formerly German region which belongs to Poland since 1945), resulting in the lack of „having a voice“ and being alienated and anonymous.

Single Exhibitions:

2020 Kunstraum R52L / Berlin / DE

2019 Spiritual Ground / kuratiert von Dr. Nadia Ismail & Dr. Astrid Legge / LVR

Museum Abtei Brauweiler / Pulheim / DE

2016 Visual Kontakt Gallery / Cluj-Napoca / RO

WE GALLERY / Berlin / DE

Polnisches Institut Berlin / DE & Warschau / PL

2010 Traumata Gallery / Bonn / DE

2009 Kulturbunker / Köln / DE

Kulturförderverein Kult41 / Bonn / DE

Group Exhibitions (selections):

2023 An AIDS Walkthrough – Instinct #12 / Village.Berlin / DE

2022 Rundgang UdK Klasse Zipp / Universität der Künste, Berlin / DE

2022 Kunstraum R52L / Berlin / DE

2019 Paul-Clemen-Museum am Kunsthistorischen Institut der Universität Bonn / DE

2018 Ansbach Contemporary / 2. Biennale für zeitgenössische Kunst / Ansbach / DE

2017 Enter Art Foundation / Berlin / DE

HilbertRaum Raum für Zeitgenössische Kunst / Berlin / DE

2016 Berlin Gallery Weekend (mit Daniel Spörri, Yoko Ono, Lamberto Teotino, Aneta

Regel) / WE GALLERY / Berlin / DE

2015 Ihsan Alisan Projects / Berlin / DE

2014 Osthaus Museum / Hagen / DE

Center for Contemporary Art TRAFO /Szczecin / PL

2013 Ihsan Alisan Projects / Hagen / DE

Center for Contemporary Art TRAFO / Szczecin / PL

2012 Rise Gallery / Berlin / DE

Funkhaus / Berlin / DE

2011 Caesar/Max-Planck-Gesellschaft / Bonn / DE

Tape Modern / Berlin / DE

Galeria Czułość / Warschau / PL

2010 Künstlerforum / Bonn / DE

2009 10. Lange Nacht der Museen / Köln / DE