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David Klamen


“[These works] are compilations of the experiences of life, composed in part by constant accumulation and exposure to stuff. A collection of memories, collapsed attempts, past ambitions, and tchotchkes, topped off with a present moment of optimism and hope. A complicated visual world that discloses itself slowly, asking us to reflect on our experiences and to celebrate the perplexity of knowing ourselves.” - David Klamen

On the occasion of the exhibition, Life Trophies, GRAY sat down with artist David Klamen to discuss his very first series in sculpture. Celebrated for his semiotically complex, hyperrealistic paintings, David Klamen first conceived of his Life Trophies in 2016 when he envisioned a series of mound-like forms comprising of varying, intertwined objects. Embracing chance and improvisation—a departure from his careful and controlled painting process—Klamen acquired a large collection of plaster molds to realize the amalgam through sculpture. In each of Klamen’s Life Trophies, the layered and fragmented components recall the countless experiences, ambitions, failures, and hazy memories that constitute one’s sense of self. Klamen’s fragments build a structure shaped by gravity, chance, and the nature of ceramic as medium. Together, they reveal contingent relationships, unexpected pairings and the echoes of buried past creations. “Much like my paintings, they disclose themselves very slowly. You can’t really see one of these quickly. They ask you to walk around them and discover imagery over time.”

David Klamen: Life Trophies is on view at GRAY Chicago (2044 W Carroll Ave) from May 5 - June, 24, 2022.