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Biography of Horst Kohlem

Horst Kohlem graduated from the Karlsruhe Art Academy in 1973 with a Masters in Fine Arts and has been consistently working as a sculptor and painter since then. He has maintained studios both in Karlsruhe, Germany and on South Beach.

Kohlem has exhibited internationally and is part of several private and public collections (Museo de Arte Contemperano Sao Paulo, Bass Museum of Miami Beach, Queens Museum of New York, City of Karlsruhe, Staedt.; Galerie Karlsruhe, Landesmuseum Oldenburg, City of Miami). Some of his latest group exhibitions include: Biennale Sao Paulo 1996; Basel International Art Fair; Queens Museum of New York; Kunstverein Stuttgart; Kunstverein Mannheim; Badischer Kunstverein Karlsruhe; Stadtmuseum Ettlingen.

In the late sixties and early seventies, Kohlem primarily worked three dimensionally, creating landscape objects. The unusual combination of modern technological materials and water landscapes encased in glass and PVC earned him recognition for his environmental statements about pollution.

In the late seventies his sculptures went through a transition when he began reflecting ancient cultures and working in stone/marble and metals such as copper and bronze. During this period his paintings shifted away from sculpturally related images to thematically related ones.

Both the paintings and the sculptures appear to be remnants of past cultures, excavated from the earth still bearing the marks of other civilizations. Their surfaces look like oxidized metallic crusts, which give them an archaic dimension. Kohlem, who once was interested in becoming an archeologist, says time is a very important concept in his work. He attempts to overcome the transitory nature of time and reduce the significance of chronology by focusing on the "timeless" character of his art. His sculptures are made from objects whose normal context he deconstructs so they become relics of our technological age.

As Barbara Matilsky of the Queens Museum once said of his work: "One's sense of place in the universe is obliquely alluded to in Kohlem's work...." It is apparent that Horst Kohlem does not see time linearly, rather as a revolving cycle.