To Dream, to Collect


John Kleckner

1978 Iowa, United States

3 Works exhibited

Current location



  • About the Artist

The Amer­ican artist John Kleckner, born in Iowa in 1978, has devoted 15 years to draw­ing. His name has become syn­ony­mous with paper-based technical per­fec­tion that is as graceful as it is inscrutable. An elegant interplay of dynamic lines, myr­iad dots and sub­tle shad­ing invades the carrier of mostly mod­est size. Frequently exe­cuted in simple ink or graphite, occa­sion­ally in gen­tle water­color, Kleckner’s graphic ciphers are woven into intrigu­ing com­po­si­tions, where the artist builds on a visual idiom once pop­u­lar with hippies, while decon­struct­ing it with enigmatic detail. Works by Kleckner, who once called him­self a “sceptical hippie”, often revolve around the human body, human rela­tion­ships, and the finite nature of both.

For his lat­est se­ries, begun in 2015, Kleckner has put aside the ink pens and returned for the first time since gra­dua­ting in 2002 to brush and palette. Dis­till­ing from more than a hundred works of paper collage that he has been making since 2012, Kleckner has produced a dozen or more large-format paint­ings in surpris­ingly robust color. At first sight, the technical, formal and chromatic aspects of this se­ries seem unre­lated to Kleckner’s pre­vi­ous œuvre, but the reverse is true: with these lat­est works, Kleckner has taken his technique of stylis­tic con­trast and dis­jointed motif a stage fur­ther, making the principle of collage that has accompa­nied his out­put since col­lege a theme of his paint­ing. More­over, here Kleckner combines earlier and later inspi­ra­tions for his art. The result is a transat­lantic bridge: influ­ences from the art history and pop cul­ture of his native United States merge with oth­ers from Berlin, his cho­sen home, to cre­ate an inde­pen­dent repertoire of form and color.

Kleckner’s works have achieved interna­tional acclaim: they can be found in New York’s Museum of Mod­ern Art, the Mietti­nen Col­lec­tion in Helsinki and Berlin, the Mag­a­sin III Museum & Foun­da­tion for Con­tem­po­rary Art in Stockholm, the DESTE Foun­da­tion for Con­tem­po­rary Art in Athens and the Saatchi Gallery in London.

Works by John Kleckner

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