VISIONARY REVUE

"There was a time
when I dreamed of sex,
and then I dreamed of drugs.
Soon I will be dreaming light..."

      After his first visit to New York in 1961, Klarwein painted The Annunciation. "You can feel the sudden burst of the Big Apple's electric zap in the composition..." he later remarked. Years later, in 1970, Carlos Santana would choose this image for his Abraxas album cover, making it one of Klarwein's most internationally recognizable works (his apprentice, Robert Venosa, designed the Santana logo for the album cover).
      During the period of 1962 to 1965, Klarwein produced two large works, aside from many portrait commissions. One, his immense Crucifixion, is an erotic tree loaded with multi-racial lovers (which he refered to more casually as 'the fucking tree'). The other, Grain of Sand, is a large circular work with many pop images (including Dali and Picasso) that eventually formed the ceiling of the Aleph Sanctuary.

THE ALEPH SANCTUARY
With Crucifixion on the wall directly opposite
And Grain of Sand on the ceiling.



 
 
 


PARIS - FALL 2004


THE ANNUNCIATION

      Meanwhile, summers were often spent in the company of other painters. Ernst Fuchs, Arik Brauer and Mati Klarwein spent the summer of 1962 together in Deya Mallorca. And, as well, the summer of 1966 was spent in Ein-Hod Israel at Arik Brauer's home.
      In the late sixties, Klarwein moved to New York, living and working in a loft on 17th Street. In 1971, he conceived the idea of the Aleph Sanctuary, an enclosed space 3 meters by 3 meters by 3 meters with 78 of his paintings to form the interior. This 'portable chapel' was exhibited in places as diverse as Colorado, California and Paris, while also being on more or less 'permanent display' in his New York loft. Here, it accomodated the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis, with whom Klarwein often associated at that time (leading to three of Miles Davis' album covers: Bitches Brew, Live Evil and Zonked.)
      Also in 1971, the artist travelled to Hamburg (his birthplace) to work on a film version of Herman Hesse's Steppenwolf, creating some 16 paintings to serve as settings for the characters.
      Many of Klarwein's paintings are psychedelic portraits of women he has known (such as 'the Angel series' in the Aleph Sanctuary) and often include landscapes from the numerous exotic places he has lived in or travelled to. Among others, these include Morocco, Greece, Turkey, Kenia, Brazil, Mexico, Cuba, Jamaica, India and Indonesia. Rich bouquets of exotic flowers is another recurring motif in his works.

 
 
 


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