Born in 1954 in Mettmann Germany, Klingelhöller studied in Düsseldorf in the 1970s and is known for his work grounded in exploring the relationship between sculpture and language. Emerging from the discourse set forth by many Conceptual artists, who advocated the privileging of language over visual form, Klingelhöller has consistently resisted this premise by underscoring the heterogeneous presence of both word and object.
Since the mid 1980s, fragmentary linguistic constructions, poetic and metaphoric in nature, have accompanied the artist’s sculptural objects in the form of titles, which together act in abstract dialogue and seek to open up new associative dimensions. Reflecting the inherent instability of linguistic systems, Klingelhöller sees his sculptures not as final statements, but rather as portrayals of the shifting resonances between the objects, their linguistic expression, the surrounding spatial context, and the beholder herself—a principle the artist refers to as ‘UNS’ (us). In this way, the works can be seen as constituting broader environments in which the location of meaning is constantly in flux.
In 2005, Klingelhöller embarked on a new body of work referred to as Schrankversionen (Cabinet Versions), which for the first time employed a direct and evident method of determining his sculptural forms through using the structure of language. Defining the measurement and composition of the various parts of each work by the length of the individual words comprising its title, the correlation between word and object is precisely visualized, while remaining entirely abstract.
RESEMBLING SOMETHING NOT OCCURRED (Kette), 2016 consists of aluminum and bronze chain links, draped in the corner to extend the ‘imagination of something having never happened and something that will never happen in a given space of pure presence’.
Since 2010 Klingelhöller has been producing his Ketten (Chains) series, which are are comprised of variously colored chain links that serve as larger metaphors for the continuity of time, connecting the artist’s past and future works in the present object. With the Ketten, the titles are again transferred into sculptural form, where the individual words of the titles are represented by the color sequences in each chain link.
Calling up imaginative spaces or alternate spatial situations in his titles, Klingelhöller typically places the chains draped in corners or at times suspended between distant walls to divide the exhibition space—a simple gesture that eludes to the creation of other spaces, both conceptual and real.