Kraus most recent installation, a continuation of his "Sex, Death, Offerings"
series, the "Archaeology/Excavation", is comprised of two categories
The "Archaeology" are wall-mounted works, which refer like paintings,
to their surface treatments, and "Offerings"; sculptural objects
mounted on plynths. The "Offerings" seem to represent a prosaic
mortification of the flesh, to the spiritual transcendence elided by
the poetic aspirations of the "Archaeology".
Both provoke uneasy distinctions between the haptic and the optic. The
objects tend to shift between minimalisms rhetorical factuality, and
narrative metaphors of inference. Like much of Kraus ouvre, the scale
and materials employed index the body and human artifactation, referencing
some ritualized or habitual use. The works embody their own opposites
in that they quote both notions of the moderne and the archaic. Their
forms and materials convey disparate reads of qualities which can be
construed as both metaphysically loaded, and reductively cool.
Showing neither aesthetically conditioned irony nor existential pessimism
regarding arts capacity to produce psychological content beyond its
factuality of materials, Kraus proposes a form of dialectic regarding
cultures religious analog, and religious doxology proper. The works
seem to exhibit a tendency or longing for arts recovery of some type
of spiritual content, felt most strongly by its very absence. Such content,
however, is not located specifically in the objects, or encoded in the
conventions of symbolic iconography.
It is conjured by the works emphatic objecthood countered by an immanence
which reflects a material anxiety, raising issues of the potential for
non-representational works to convey meaning towards narrative modes
of identity. The very notion of contemporary art begging consideration
as conveying some sense of a "sacred" would seem overcome
with inherent contradictions. Can objects which artistically refer to
modernist conventions of production, display, and the marketplace also
carry, in good faith, an equal identity of spirituality without falling
prey to a negatory irony, or maudlin sentimentality and pseudo-pious
Structures either aesthetic or religious, are imbued with meaning for
their respective interpreters. Both would ask their adherents to engage
in contemplation toward an apotheosis, a condition where a metaphysics
of the aesthetically sublime and spiritually numinous are indistinguishable.
The difference between faith and doubt is constituted by a linguistic
position that describes contradictory notions of truth; one whose metaphors
condition a metaphysics of the ineffable, and one which attempts to
order experience through a pragmatic linguistics. Testing the verifiable
limits or lack-thereof, of such mystical conditions, Kraus places production
of content clearly on the viewers capacity for examining the nature
of their own species of faith.