John Kleckner Exhibited at The Saatchi Gallery

John Kleckner
Untitled (Dead Bird)


ink, watercolor, graphite on paper

15.9 x 22.9cm

John Kleckner’s ink drawings have something of the quality, in both form and content, of 1970s progressive rock album covers. Wild-haired men, like the forgotten drummers of once loved bands, their beards tousled into meticulous strands, suffer psychedelic indignities: decaptitated, noseless, they seem to stand for a kind of besieged heroism, subject to graphic assault but still dreamyeyed and maybe stoned. In Untitled (Faces), two floating heads (male and female) bob across the space like jellyfish, their hair entwined and entangled irredeemably.

John Kleckner
Untitled (Faces)


ink on paper

16.5 x 10.5 cm

Kleckner’s descriptive line – both realistic and excessively so, with a focus on textures of hair, fur and grass – gives the image its air of amplified realism, which tips over into the graphic arabesques of Art Nouveau. These are characters disappearing into pattern. In another, untitled work, a decomposing human face deems either vomiting or being invaded by a sea of swirling textures: leaf-like, lava-like. The matter of the world itself, with all its complex internal patterns, seems bent on dissolution and decay; nature is an unbridled thing, teeming with destructive beauty, as in the clambering insects dismembering the title animal in Untitled (Dead Bird).

John Kleckner
Untitled (Hercules)


ink, watercolor, graphite on paper

222 x 131cm

In Kleckner’s work, humanity is a clumsy beast at odds with its surroundings. Untitled (Hercules) depicts the mythical hero as dumb nude, excessively muscled and void of expression, his Michelangelesque hand tweaking his tiny genitals as though checking they’re still there. Though rippling with strength, he seems softened and emasculated, aimlessly striding through a no-man’s land towards his certain doom.

John Kleckner


ink on paper

6 x 7.5 cm

Text by Ben Street

John Kleckner's Biography

John Kleckner
Born in 1978, Iowa, USA
Lives and works in Berlin, Germany


John Kleckner, Galerie Dukan, Paris, France

My Building Disappeared, Francesco Pantaleone Arte Contemporanea, Bad New Business Gallery, Milan, Italy

Lesser Known Surrealist Drawings, Fruit & Flower Deli Gallery, Stockholm, Sweden
Köpfe & Helme II, (with Eva Maria Salvador), Berlin

Grazie, Prego, Scusi, Francesco Pantaleone Arte Contemporanea, Palermo, Italy
Köpfe & Helme, (with Eva Maria Salvador) Ninety-Five, Berlin
John Kleckner & Riley Payne, Tristian Koenig Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
Those Ghosts, (with Patrick Tuttofuoco) Peres Projects, Berlin

An Ear In A Pond, A Tooth In The Wall, A Knife In The Socket, Loraini Alimantiri / Gazonrouge, Athens, Greece

The Master Cleanser, Peres Projects, Los Angeles
The 40 Seasons, Peres Projects, Berlin, Germany

John Kleckner, Peres Projects, Los Angeles
John Kleckner, Peres Projects, Berlin


Dead: A Celebration Of Mortality, The Saatchi Gallery, London, UK
Drawings, Galerie Dukan, Paris, France

Reflections on PSYCHEDELIA, Christina Androulidaki gallery, Athens, Greece
Triptychon, Atelierhof Kreuzberg In Der Kunsthalle M3 - Kunsthalle m3, Berlin, Germany

Tryptichon, Pavillon am Milchhof, Berlin, Deutschland
Party with us. Ten years after, Francesco Pantaleone Arte Contemporanea, Palermo, Italy
ReMap 4, Athens, Greece
In The Studio, Kunsthalle Athena, Athens, Greece
Partie 2 : Le corps, Galerie Dukan, Paris, France
Paper, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK
Partie I : Portrait, Galerie Dukan, Paris, France
Berlin status 2, K√ľnstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany
Volta 9, Galerie Dukan, Basel, Switzerland
Art Paris Art Fair, Galerie Dukan, Paris, France

Each Memory Recalled Must Do Some Violence To Its Origins, curated by Aaron Moulton, undisclosed location in Utah, USA

A Painting Show, curated by Aaron Moulton. Autocenter, Berlin
Sticks & Stones, Peres Projects, Berlin
Laced, curated by Stephen Riolo. Torstrasse 95, Berlin
Big Minis: Fetishes of Crisis, curated by Alexis Vaillant, CAPC Musée d’art Contemporain, Bordeaux, France (catalogue)
New American Values, curated by Daniel Kingery, Atelierhof Kreuzberg
The Power of Paper, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK

Vivere Country, Curated by Nonna Bruna, Grimmuseum, Berlin
Thrice Upon A Time, Magasin 3, Stockholm
Premio Lissone 2010, Lissone
Home and Origin, Bukowskis, Stockholm
Step Toward Home, EAST/WEST, Berlin
Cover Up, Tape Modern, Berlin
Videodrome, curated by Aaron Moulton, Autocenter, Berlin
Available Works at HBC, HBC, Berlin
Get Behind Me Satan and Push, curated by Margherita Belaief, Berlin
Waking The Dead, Autocenter, Berlin

Minneapolis, Peres Projects, Los Angeles
Compass in Hand: Selections from The Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection, The Museum of Modern Art, New York City
Rock Opera, CAPC, Museum of Contemporary Art, Bordeaux
Deleted Scenes, Feinkost, Berlin

Nevertheless, Kuenstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany
Legende, Domaine departemental Chamarande, Chamarande, France,
Auslaender in Berlin, curated by Margherita Belaief, CITRIC Gallery, Brescia, Italy
I Will Never Lie To My Mother Again, Mogadishniaar Gallery, Aarhus, Denmark
The End Was Yesterday, Kunstraum Innsbruck + Galerie, Austria
The End Was Yesterday, Autocenter Autocenter + Galerie im Regierungsviertel, Berlin, Germany

Destroy Athens, the First Athens Biennial
Gravity's Rainbow, Peres Projects Athens
The Four Horsemen / The RAND Corporation, Galerie im Regierungsviertel, Berlin,
Palisadenparenchym, Danese, New York, NY
Ginnungagap / Pavilion of Belief, curated by Tjorg Douglas Beer, Galerie im Regierungsviertel, Venice, Italy
RAW, Among the Ruins Marres, Center for Contemporary Culture, Maastricht, Netherlands

Panic Room, works from the Dakis Joannou Collection, Deste Foundation Centre For Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece
LAXed, Peres Projects, Berlin

The Zine UnBound: Kults, Werewolves and Sarcastic Hippies, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, California
Gods & Monsters, Peres Projects, Los Angeles
A Fantasy, curated by Malik Gaines, ARENA 1 GALLERY, Santa Monica
Werewolf Express, curated by Trinie Dalton, in Exploding Zines, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco

Sign of the Covenant, John Connelly Presents, New York
Pencil Me In, Geoffrey Young Gallery, MA
The Garden Lab Experiment, Art Center College, Pasadena,
Pickup Lines, Geoffrey Young Gallery, MA
Cave Canem, John Connelly Presents, New York

RETREAT, Peres Projects, Los Angeles