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  Andreas Moersener, Lippstadt
Dr. Erich Franz, Münster
Anne Sträter, Soest 
Dr. Erich Franz, Münster
Dr. Tayfun Belgin, Hagen
Dr. Tayfun Belgin, Dortmund
Overview 1986-2008


Markus Krüger studied with Professor Wolfgang Troschke at Fachhochschule für Design in Münster, Germany. This may already have initiated a sharpening of his perception of unfamiliar occurrences, of unusual conditions and processes which are hard to grasp, and a conceptual as well as informal approach.

Markus Krüger approaches his artistic subjects and subject areas from different persepectives, "methodically" distrusting any method. He focuses on developments in nature of which process is an inherent essential. In this analysis of process in his recent works, Krüger produces multimedia records of conditions, which he - according to the respective motif or subject - arranges and compresses into highly lyrical installations

The 13 piece wall-installation, Kyrill, consists of ink drawings, photographs (a 3 piece sequence of pictures), photograms, crayon-mixed techniques, found objects (the fork of a tree branch torn off by the hurricane Kyrill, in 2006), fragments (of the wooden floor of his studio), a text panel, and artifacts (a sheet of synthetic resin).

Markus Krüger succeeds in outlining the various facets of the confusion, the threat and the unexpectedness of the European hurricane, Kyrill, by using various media in order to create an impression of the process (in the series of photographs) and to state the outcome (through found objects and ink drawings), so that the viewers' gaze, wandering about and scanning this complex and multi-focal arrangement, helps to evoke mental combinations and associations.

Andreas Moersener

Städtische Galerie im Rathaus, Lippstadt

  on the occasion of the exhibition, Lippstadt AKUT2013

    Since 1995, Markus Krüger has been pursuing a work on the greatness of nature, on the inconceivability of its minuteness, its incomprehensible duration in the momentary, in one's experience of marks and layers of time. He has developed his own field of investigation and experience in which history, the infinite number of histories of nature open up: a quarry, which he explores on those days, when nobody is working there - exploring its age-old indifference to dimensions that are far beyond human size, bursting open and noticeable even in the smallest crevices, in the sediment of the standing water, in the sounds in the silence. Krüger does not try the impossible, that is to represent nature, but transforms his reactions, his way of experiencing fleeting moments and those which last, the tensions in silence, his registering of the unexpected, his surprise in face of reality, of its strangeness. First, he recorded his observations by committing to paper cursory notes, small signs, in various directions. In addition, he took photographs (in black and white) marks, fragments, shadows, edges of light, moments.1

The delicate oscillations of these records, his instantaneous reacting, his being driven, his hastily gliding further, the marking of sign-like resting points - created from 1996 to 2002, Markus Krüger transferred all this onto his Schriftbilder quickly “written” with ink onto canvases, vibrating, one overlapping the other - marks which did not allow any corrections. One's eyes move through shimmering layers of different courses of “writing,” they detect signs, wedges, numerical strokes, and they are guided by encircled resting points, sometimes even by an open area, a small “spot” from which one's view immediately jumps on to similar signs. Each of these paintings keeps up its own rhythm which has grown together in it in very different ways, evenly filling the surface, fluidly merging, up to dramatic contrasts between strongly forward flowing streams and solidifications which press against them.

At the same time, Krüger created paintings in which he continued the restlessly iridescent colors of his early paintings, though now spreading them across the whole surface so that nothing in these paintings can be marked off any longer. Everything is flowing, glowing, and sinking down, shimmering transformation and therefore, at the same time, soil (Erdverschiebung is the title of a work from 1998) and light. The wavy characteristic style, the marks of the brush which again and again start anew, stand out and transfer impulses from the Schriftbilder into the art of painting. Again, the incomprehensible, the momentary, the intensity of transience determine the picture's subject matter. Strömung, Licht, Rodung are the titles of these paintings, which Krüger continues up to the present, still enhancing their shimmering, glowing, directed, and at the same time calm incomprehensibility which is controlled by an inner rhythm.

Again and again, Krüger is fascinated by the phenomenon of waves, their sparkling and rhythmic combination of matter and light. In several drawings he includes the white of the paper as positive spaces which penetrate the shimmering crests of the waves creating an amazing unity of flitting nervousness, generous rhythm and a meditative condition. Elements of the earlier paintings of writings and textures appear in these later drawings: the quick impulses, the striking repetitions, the layers, and the structural uniformity - different in each drawing - and always kept with great consistency. Yet, in the later drawings, these elements merge more into one another, they look less bulky, thus amazingly enhancing both their contrariness and their unity. In a sketch, in which Krüger records structures of connections and landmarks in the area of a pasture (without giving them any solidity), he notes: “Space between the clouds / section of time / near at hand - infinitely far away / felt movement.” Again, it becomes clear how nature is not seen as an objective reality but exclusively as a subjective experience - and how, at the same time, this subjectivity is not determined by the artist's personality. It is not directed towards the emotional or expressive, but is totally concentrated onto the outside, onto aspects and moments in nature, onto its incomprehensible intensity as experience.

In all these records, pictures of writings, creations of impressions of stones, of soil, of plants, of sounds, of water, of clouds, time plays a central role. Rather than that which remains (and which does not exist in nature, though art suggests something else whenever depicting nature). That which shortly appears, which has just been experienced (which also includes the seeming permanence of stone layers), becomes a lasting, unforgettable perception. Time, which can be felt in various kinds of change, belongs directly to that which we experience as forest, as water, as plants, as light. In a fascinating way, Krüger has also included them in photography, which he has long been using simultaneously with painting in order to explore the impressive-transient. In 2002, he placed a camera on a tripod in a forest and pointed it at trees in a way that their branches, moving in the wind, stood out against the sky (Zeitengang 2). By means of back lighting and longer exposure, the black-and-white film recorded the curvy blurs which transform the illusion of a recorded image into fan-like streams, dissolving the rising movements of the trunks and branches and penetrating them in an immaterial way. The rhythmic grouping of these photo-prints into a sequence produces another shaped non-solidity for one's viewing, which hurries from photograph to photograph, yet, without finding a cinematic “course of pictures.” Parallel to these, Krüger made use of the means of drawing on paper and of acrylic on cardboard, creating very similar, increasing curves by manifold hatchings which again transform impressions of nature into painterly processes.

Over the last years, Krüger has introduced another aspect of time-dynamics into photography, namely the aspect of a subjective variability and changing orientation. In the color photographs of the MC series (2006-2010), he used the photo camera like a video camera, moving the opened lens for two to six concentrated seconds purposefully with regard to the object: to color. He precisely directs the incidence of light onto the photosensitive surface, adjusting the distribution of more striking and of more fleeting impressions, their courses and their arrangements in the picture. These visual processes are designed without any digital effects. Actually, he just records them, he does not manipulate them. “You're right in the middle of it,” he says about the process of photographing. This is also true for the viewer. However atmospheric, unfixed and blurred these photographs look, they radiate a very definite appearance of light, development of color, and an atmosphere of light and dark. This definiteness is not experienced as form, but as movement. Correspondingly, rather than recognizing the representative motif, such as a flower or a plant, one notices a special spreading and concentration of color, of a spatial dimness, of the slower or the swifter compressing and expanding processes of light. Whatever we learn about nature is nothing but appearance and impression. Yet, it is amazing, how impressive this appearance is, though - or maybe just because - it does without any illusion of objective firmness and “focus.”

In his paintings, pictures with writings, drawings, and photographs, Markus Krüger fixes the unfixable of nature, its incomprehensibility, its infinite dynamics of time. His pictures suggest the non-pictorial: movement, transformation, fragmentariness. In the 14 part photo-series, Zeitengang 11 from 2011, the “frozen” calmness, which is very unusual in Krüger's pictures, turns out to be a mutual penetration of manifold processes. The dark shapes in the whitish surroundings show processes of balancing freezing and melting, crystalline, iced over surface and liquid depth, in which the minimal plant “warmth” only just thaws the thin cover of hoarfrost on the icy skin. Positive turns into negative, surface turns into spatial, form turns into movement. The digital processing of the pictures was confined to the methods of analogous photography. In some prints, Krüger has transformed the whitish areas into black ones by solarization, thus reversing once more the relationship of figure and ground. No form appears to be lasting, every view becomes a momentary movement, which reaches further, loses hold, and therefore discovers cognition.

    1 Markus Krüger - Steinzeiten, exh. cat. Kunstverein Lippstadt, 1998, with an essay by Tayfun Belgin.    
Dr. Erich Franz, Münster, 2011  



    When visiting the artist’s studio one enters an amazing world of carefully composed installations, picture cycles consisting of several parts and fine specimens of proceeding activity which have one signature despite their contrariety: precise thoughts are cast into an immaculate form. Markus Krüger is a fine artist who keeps on working on a theme until he has come to fathom its contents and form and has achieved a result which is acceptable for him and which is beyond already established stylistic devices. After that he starts looking for new solutions for contents and themes he is then facing.

The term 'Zeitenraum -- Space of times' coined by the artist defines the dimensional contents of his photography works of the most recent working period. Those recorded photo structures result from the time lapse in which the artist “circuits” his motif, thereby digitally taking the photo with a long exposure time. The photos thus obtained stay the way they are and are not further processed by means of computer technique. Within seconds a photography is composed of initially inexplicable structure; mysterious in its colours and of a special aesthetic enchantment.

Anne Sträter, 2008  


  Markus Krüger’s way is not a predetermined one which he follows without questioning, but he always newly invents what a picture could literally be. In this case there are photographs which have as theme what photographs always consist of, namely reactions of light influencing a surface. And what is more is that they do not depict but they generate something – spaces, expansions, imaginations – and they generate this by dissolving the limited and thus identifiable nature.  
Erich Franz, 2007  



    Markus Krüger’s first memorandum called "December 1995 first encounter with unknown terrain / feelings of uncertainty / curiosity / first explorations " seems like a message from another world not known to us.

What kind of world did the artist experience a few years ago? When read today it sounds like the beginning of an expedition, a search with a defined, maybe also undefined aim. "Months have passed since the first encounter / magic place /again and again fascinating / more fascinated than before ..."

Not far away from his own studio, the painter, graphic artist and photographer found a fascinating substantial world which he presents us in the Lippstadt Kunstverein for the first time. The “Überwelt – the transcendent world” which the artist encountered some time ago does still exist today and can be found in the South of Lippstadt between Erwitte and Anröchte.
Since December 1995, Markus Krüger has spent more and more time working outside his studio, regularly visiting his "magic place" as proven by a large number of photographs in order to expose himself to what has moved him ever since: observing a quiet but powerful gesture which can be so vivid only in a neverland, without people, machinery and/or time -- in the quietness. The "magic place" as an accumulation of substantial, visual and emotional values, a place where stones like to talk, a world in which quietness and tension coexist in balance. And so the artist remarks: "Rotation / incidence of light / light moving across the dark / Mediterranean green / shifts / horizontal gap / moving shadows / overlapping layers / variable acoustic perceptions stored in the ground / lowering darkness / clouds rushing past / loneliness ..." .

Markus Krüger started working on the "Stone Ages" after the people regularly working in the magic place had finished their work – in the weekends, mostly Sundays. Up to the midth of the 1990s Krüger concentrated on the composition of the pictorial space; his large-size works carried out in mixed media structured the picture entity in the mode of a gestural-painted visual language. In the recent years, this formal-aesthetic standard of picture world has gained one additional dimension with regard to the contents: seeking traces. The exhibition in the Lippstadt Kunstverein proves this in an impressing way: there are memory minutes and notes, drawings, texture pictures, script pictures, pure paintings, a large-size block containing photographs as well as a massive composition of stones. The minutes as well as the photographs were made at the local quarry whereas the drawings and the other pictures were created in the studio.

    The work of art called “Begegnung – encounter” which consists of 5 pieces and is dated to 1994/95 marks the beginning of a new working phase. It already suggests what the future is going to bring. The tension in this painted work of art may be ascribed to the synthesis of colour and line. The colour spectrum is reduced to gray, ochre, Siena brown, white and black colour values. Like in early works done by Krüger, the picture spaces are “heterogeneous” and are subject to a strongly marked linear structure – motion caused by lines, action in the entire picture.

The present working phase starting in December 1995 and/or beginning of 1996 has brought along works on canvas and paper in which there is a new tendency: elements in painting and in graphic are combined into scripture. This tendency becomes radically obvious in Krüger’s purely script pictures. As they are based on the notes taken at the quarry they are also autonomous works and do not depend on the context; they show comprehensible texts and also "speechless" text fragments as autocratic picture categories.

Along with the script pictures, one can find works which definitely belong to the quarry context. One can distinguish vertical, horizontal and diagonal signs which remind us of the elements seen. At first sight these works seem to be abstract, therefore disassociated; in the context with the exhibition however they are “rebound to the source” and have their reason to exist. This also applies to the beautiful, reduced work called “Fixierte Zeit – fixed time” which can be clearly deduced from the memory minutes and notes. In the minutes and notes, the work’s central sign has a mere marginal picture expression in the character of a graffito.

The "Steinzeiten -- Stone Ages" (stone field -- picture field 1995-1998) represent the core of the composition and form the center of the exhibition. It is about the thrilling dialogue of remembered photography and the present stone installation. Markus Krüger selected 125 photographs out of approximately 1500 photographs which were taken at various quarries since the end of 1995 and installed them along the longest wall of the large exhibition site and in front of them " on plain ground " he arranged a field of limestones of various sizes in the form of an elongated rectangle. In Krüger’s creation both media owe their existence to the remembering and collecting. In numerous detail exposures, the large photo block deals with set pieces taken from the terrestrial-substantial world of a quarry, without humans and mainly without machinery. The work carried out in a quarry is not Krüger’s primary focus. The "world beyond the world" of a quarry is consciously sensed in small worlds, in black and white, in order to thus eliminate the accidental colour : the artist’s intention was to filter the essentials of an unknown world.

If you walk along this photo series attentively then you will become aware why Krüger’s artistic eye was so fascinated by this stone world. Things appearing strange to us do exist not far from our own every-day-world: mining traces, depositions, gaps, remainders of vegetation, games in the sand, signs left in the rubble, traces of large vehicles. In this case pictures lead us to a world which we would tend to associate with the surface of the moon instead of a quarry.

Beyond the working world at the quarry, Markus Krüger started an artistic expedition aiming at exploring the strange components in one’s own world. The experiment was successful as proven by the exhibition. The way the stones are composed reflects the photographer's very special perspective in a totally different way. The formal way in which the stones gathered by Markus Krüger are composed represents an allegorical way on which the artist went. This is the substantial source for the mental contents of this painting.

Retrospectively the stone field is thus a sign for the artist's entire working phase. As the stones have been taken out of their original context they receive an augmentation of their literally mere substantial value – in the context of art they have become vehicles of immaterial ideas.

  Tayfun Belgin, 1998
  (from the catalogue SteinZeiten, Kunstverein Lippstadt 1998)


In the years 1985 to 1991 Markus Krüger made the triangle the primary element of his pictures within a gestural-unobjective way of painting. After the triangle - as a geometric form - was still to be found everywhere in the painting in those days, it has been isolated from its original integration during the past 3 years.

Today it forms the center of a way of painting which, by the way, never favoured canvas as colour-carrying material, but always paper. Markus Krüger plays about the triangle in a serial way, which means that the artist is interested in a picture-generating process and not in a singular, final statement. Instead the artist aims at a continuous involvement in pictorial space, colour and form.

Tayfun Belgin, 1995