Facets of the interplay between forgetting and remembering are meant to be portrayed concretely here. The portraits bring individual facial features out of the mire of oblivion and up to the
surface. They provide space, lend the individual some dimension, and bring those individuals in question prominently to mind. Yet the clear focus of this zoom is almost immediately pushed to the
background – Klugmann covers his portraits with thin layers of acrylic glaze in a variety of colors. The previously easily recognizable facial features disappear from memory and slip once again into
What remains in the finished portrait is not so much the portrayed individual as his fate, set exemplarily in transition from memory to forgetting. Forgetting is, in this sense, not a lapse on the part of the individual who forgets, but the perspectival vanishing point towards which every striving to remember is oriented. Taking this insight into account, the represented persons are always both the remembered and the forgotten, in equal measure. Klugmann’s ancestral gallery thereby reveals the photographer’s wish for the lasting preservation of a moment to be futile. Nevertheless, we want to remember and we want to be remembered. It is the desire for an, at least conditional, protection against transience.
The exceptional thing about the cycle shown here is, for me, that Klugmann allows us to feel this desire and, in its reflection, implicates us all. By creating a memorial to his unknown and forgotten individuals and by simultaneously making them figures for reflection on the forgotten, Klugmann invites us to be moved by the portrayed, and to identify with them.
As beings who forget and are forgotten, we are quasi, potential, co-subjects of this series….
Ulrike Stiens „Landscapes and the Forgotten“
Excerpt from the introductory speech for the exhibit in the Galerie Kirchner in Grünsfeld, 2009.