Curators notes, Ruth Carroll, RHA Curator:
Vera Klute’s 2017 exhibition Plunge was the first major museum survey of her work. Based in Ireland since 2001, Klute holds a rare position within Irish art with an innate and intelligent agility that allows her to move seamlessly between disciplines, from paint to print, video to sculpture, embracing both the digital and the analogue in her methodologies and output with an ease that is rare in contemporary art practice, and indeed it is these unique qualities that has led this institution to exhibit her work on a number of occasions prior to this survey.
Her work was first exhibited as part of the Futures 2011 exhibition that included artists Sheila Rennick, James Merrigan, Alan Butler and Barbara Knezevic (Barbara will be exhibiting in the same gallery in a rescheduled slot in 2021); then a successful commercial show in the RHA Ashford Gallery in 2013, a piece or two in the following Annuals and then this exhibition in 2017. The programming approach at the RHA allows us to support artists and provide opportunities at all stages of their careers, by creating multiple routes to exhibit and make work and that makes it a very unique place in the cultural infrastructure. In 2018, Vera Klute was elected an Associate Member of the RHA, bringing her unique voice and practice to the organisation. Vera is one of a number of the Futures generation of artists that are now Members, Sínead Ní Mhaonaigh ARHA and Aideen Barry ARHA were also recently elected.
At the time of writing, RHA had just opened its doors after 19 weeks of closure. I’m excited about negotiating the new way of working and how we welcome visitors and create opportunities to exhibit, view and make art. Hope to see you all soon. We missed you. July, 2020.
The RHA Gallery presents the first major survey of work by the multi-disciplinary artist Vera Klute, titled Plunge. The exhibition gives an overview of the artists diverse practice spanning from 2011 to present, displaying video, painting, sculpture and drawing. While portraiture plays a large part in Klute’s work in the various loaned paintings and sculpture, the artist is not limited to traditional oil painting, but applies media such as animation and ceramics to her genre. The exhibition title is taken from one of the new works in the exhibition, suspended conjoined limbs take a dynamic dive from the ceiling covered in milky, wet silicone, Plunge (2017). This work is showcased alongside other new works, the ephemeral rotating cloud cogs, Black Cloud (2017) and White Cloud (2017).
On entering the exhibition, we encounter the large video projection The Grand Scheme (2013), a slow meditation on our place in this world, based on Renaissance ideas of heaven, earth and the underworld. Mirroring this in the next space is an elaborate sculpture Stampede (2015) made entirely from paper depicting a number of legs tumbling over each other. Klute’s practice also encompasses home-made mechanics; as exemplified in Move Along (2014) a wall full of synced waving paper arms and the revolving clouds on acrylic discs.
The works are playful, yet exemplify Klute’s self-taught nature, constantly developing and perfecting form and technique. Whether it is realistic painting or geometric paper sculpture, each piece showcases the artist’s great attention to detail and inventiveness with materials and technology.
While the work is formally and technically very different, there are underlying ideas throughout the exhibition. Inspired by the everyday Klute utilizes familiar objects and imagery. The artist looks at how we perceive the outside world and our place in it, and sees the individual as displaced in its own habitat. Like an outside observer, Klute, is attempting to make sense of, an often-absurd everyday life with its cycles, routines, habits, and family relationships looking at the human condition, to categorize and find the pattern within the chaos.
Vera Klute was born in Germany in 1981 and has been based in Dublin since 2001. She has exhibited widely in Ireland and abroad and her work is part of both private and public collections. Most notably her work has been included in the Portrait Collection of the National Gallery of Ireland and the National Self- portrait Collection. In 2015 Klute won the Hennessy Portrait Prize at the National Gallery and was awarded the Hennessy Craig Scholarship at the RHA 185th Annual Exhibition, 2015. She has received several Arts Council Bursary Awards, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, the K+M Evans Award, RHA 183rd Annual, 2013. Work for this exhibition made with the kind support of DIT, Dublin Institute of Technology.