looking forward into a new year

An artist looks back with trepidation and forward with courage

Postpandemic status

Siegen. It seems as if we have left the pandemic behind us and the fear of energy costs is manageable. As an artist, however, I already know that rising operating costs automatically mean that I can do less. This reflexively leads to fewer applications, participation in group exhibitions and fairs.

Thank you

Thanks especially for the grant from the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia for the realization of the research and the grant Neustart Kultur from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media through the Stiftung Kulturwerk of VG Bild-Kunst for the realization of the chapel schools. The final realization of the analog images via scans and prints to the exhibition with catalog of the chapel schools would not have been possible without the grants of the district of Siegen-Wittgenstein, the municipality of Neunkirchen, BGH Edelstahlwerke GmbH, VETTER Industrie GmbH, EJOT Holding GmbH & Co KG and Dr. Hubertus Koch.

Exhibitions near and far

2022 was a foretaste of this. 50% less exhibitions than before the pandemic are a clear alarm signal and yet the year kept the fine art photographer (born 1966 in Bonn) in suspense, because the exhibitions always took place in the opposite direction. Thomas Kellner successfully presented his exhibition Black & White with Nieser Gallery in Stuttgart, in the DunAtelier of Siegen's twin city Katwijk and in the Kunsthalle K30 in Neheim. His exhibition Tango Metropolis was shown in solo exhibitions at the Kunstverein Graz in Regensburg and at the Hallescher Kunstverein in Halle. Kellner's Grand Canyon was shown in Roggel in the Netherlands and in Kirschau. VisuleX Gallery in Hamburg was particularly successful in presenting Kellner's work on the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg in a solo exhibition in Hamburg and at two art fairs in Karlsruhe and Hamburg. The exhibition Flucticulus, which Kellner conceived in 2017 for the Kunstverein Siegen, enjoyed an exceptionally worthwhile presentation at the Galerie im Stammelbachspeicher in Hildesheim. The still new exhibition of half-timbered houses that Kellner presented at the Artgalerie in early 2021 was honored by the NRW Chamber of Architects in Düsseldorf with a multimedia presentation. At the Artgalerie in Siegen, Thomas Kellner is showing his new series of chapel schools until February 11. The most important solo exhibition was hosted by the Klompching Gallery in New York in their 3D-Space in New York. In addition to these solo exhibitions, Kellner has been featured in themed exhibitions in Vienna, Lyon, Cologne, Aachen, Siegen and New Delhi.

New catalogs

Two new books were published in 2022. Monumente is a text volume with contributions on Kellner's individual work blocks and Fachwerkhäuser des Siegener Industriegebietes heute appeared in an expanded second edition. Now in the turn of the year appears just the 208-page volume chapel schools with text contributions by Dr. Andrea Gnam, Chiara Manon Bohn, Isabell Eberling and Dr. Stefanie Siedek-Strunk.

New pictures

Thomas Kellner worked four years on the idea and the realization of the series about the chapel schools. The result is 49 motifs and 4 smaller special editions.
At the same time, Kellner continues to work on the Siegen half-timbered houses and last year a new picture and this year 6 new motifs were published, which will be shown for the first time in Cologne. For the next four years, however, Kellner will turn away from the contact sheet of 35mm film and architecture and follow his enthusiasm for portraiture.

New distribution channels

The pandemic has not brought much new to the visual arts. Streaming formats may occur in the visual arts in the accompanying program, for example for lectures, but for the artist they are not a format in which exhibitions can be presented and sold. Only 3D spaces are an alternative. Kellner had the good fortune of such a presentation in New York. What is new is the web store. There, Thomas Kellner already offers over a hundred items from his oeuvre. Books, exhibition catalogs, posters, special editions and also partworks are offered by Kellner in his new online store.

Internationally on the road as a curator

Thomas Kellner was filled with pride when his colleague and photo artist Marc Baruth from Siegen was awarded one of the coveted prizes for best international photographer at the Pingyao International Photography Festival. Baruth, with his series of landscape paintings based on Peter Paul Rubens, was part of the exhibition of contemporary landscape photography that Kellner curated for the Artgalerie in the summer and was subsequently shown in China. 

What's ahead in 2023?

The outlook for 2023 and 24 is not difficult for Thomas Kellner. In early March, the half-timbered houses will be shown by the in focus gallery in Cologne and then also by the Kunstverein Ebersberg in April. Kellner's curated exhibition of contemporary landscape photography will be on view at the Quanzhou Biennale in China starting in March, and the exhibition Guckst Du! that he presented at the Artgalerie in 2021 will also be on view in China this year at the International Photography Festival in Pingyao. After the series of chapel schools that followed the Siegen half-timbered houses as a tribute to the Bechers, Kellner now turns to August Sander and calls on all Siegen residents to make themselves available as models.

Culture helps culture

From today's perspective, 2023 and 2024 will be marked by the crisis and the war with its consequences. Culture is again particularly affected. Before the pandemic, Kellner had made an image for the Bruchwerktheater and sold it in favor of the young theater. In 2023 follows the support for the big brother the Siegen Apollo Theater.

Who would like to support the fine art photographer in 2023 with the expected high energy bills can do this either with the purchase of a Corönchen, support him on one of the platforms of Patreon or Kofi, or order in his online store at shop.thomaskellner.com his new book about the chapel schools.