In Time - Arno Kramer (English)

Monumental, wall-covering charcoal drawings, figurative shapes and more abstract graphic elements. Shades of black, grey and blue and ladders of colour juxtaposed with a purplish pink circle or a drawn pair of hands. From 16 January to 24 April, the exhibition In Time, staged in CODA Museum, shows more than 100 drawings made by visual artist Arno Kramer over the past two years. New artworks that Kramer realised on the walls of the museum are also part of the exhibition.

Recent work

Kramer’s drawings are about what develops from intuition and visual language, without there being a fixed or preconceived plan. Photos that the artist found or took himself often form the basis of his works. Arno Kramer’s recent work is characterised by a higher level of abstraction, the use of hand-written text elements and a more elaborate use of colour. The edges of a number of drawings are covered with colour ladders, which, like the keys of a piano, lend the artworks a playful and lively rhythm. 

Form and material

Arno Kramer’s drawings seem straightforward at first glance, but close examination reveals that this is far from true. Kramer combines figuration in the form of swans, deer, hares, wolves, faces, the human body and landscapes with abstract patterns like lattice structures and gouache ‘colour stains’. Many of the gouache colour stains and drippings are incidental, but the lines and frames in the drawings are clearly orchestrated by the artist. The finished images often cause a feeling of awkwardness; things do not always fit. This steers the images clear of the superficial sentimentality that Kramer’s animals and portraits might otherwise evoke when observed at a glance.

“I think I am capable of making a nice drawing, but something has to happen on the paper.
There has to be opposition, a clash.”

Arno Kramer’s tools of preference are charcoal , pencil and water colours, and he experiments with coloured pencil and collage. Smaller, existing drawings sometimes find their way into larger works, for instance as cut-outs.

“In many cases, making a drawing is no more and no less than inciting a derailment.”

At the beginning of the exhibition, Seamus Heaney’s poem In Time is presented. This poem by Heany – the Irish poet who died in 2013 – was the departure point for or way towards new work for Kramer. He never uses texts, by others or himself, as explanations of his work. Rather, he uses them loosely as a source of inspiration; an underlying layer and theme to embellish on. The title In Time is therefore Arno Kramer’s tribute to the poet and to Ireland, where he tries to work for some time each year.

Arno Kramer

Arno Kramer (1945) is a visual artist, curator and poet who gained renown for his drawings. He is also a strong proponent of drawing as a fully-fledged, autonomous form of art. In All About Drawing (2011), curated by himself and Diana Wind, Kramer brought together 50 years of drawing through the works of 100 artists.

Arno Kramer’s work is included in the CODA collection, and in 2006 he made a series of 4 unique ‘friend portraits’ for Vereniging Museumvrienden. CODA has followed Kramer through the years because of his continuous development through and with a constant, flowing drawing focus in and through which he keeps innovating himself. The exhibition is accompanied by a new publication containing works Arno Kramer made after his solo exhibition LONGING (2014) in Museum De Pont in Tilburg. A great number of no longer existing wall drawings are included in this book. The exhibition In Time will travel to the Limerick City Gallery of Art in Ireland in May 2022.

In Time is staged in CODA Museum from 16 January to 24 April. During the same period, the work of Robert Smit is shown in the exhibition Craving the Essentials. Both exhibitions reflect CODA’s focus on drawing and drawings, which is also exemplified by the annual Big Draw festival and exhibitions like Private Confessions, which brought together the drawings of 36 visual artists.