Astrid Klein’s first solo exhibition in New York focuses on two historical bodies of work: early “photoworks” from 1979 alongside canvases from her White Paintings series (1988–93).

Both illustrate the fundamental importance of collage to Klein’s practice, the versatility of her thinking, and her innovative reinterpretation of the image, particularly through the incorporation of text. At the same time, these works are a testimony to the artist’s intellectual acuity and the lasting relevance of the themes she addresses – Klein’s dialog with social and political developments, her questioning of prevailing power structures, and her exploration of topics such as the construction of identity, are as relevant today as ever.

 

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

 

Astrid Klein, one of Germany’s most distinguished conceptual artists, has played a crucial role as European counterpart to the American Pictures Generation since the late 1970s and is considered a female pioneer of large-scale photography. In her multilayered works, she combines artistic source material drawn from philosophy, literature, political discourse, and film to establish fresh links of meaning.

Entering the gallery, visitors encounter well-known faces: the glamorous women of 1960s and 1970s French New Wave and Italian cinema. Klein has detached them from their original context in film and mass media and merged them into new pictorial worlds by overlaying them with text fragments, adhesive tape elements, and pen markings. The process results in photographed collages, so-called photoworks, all shown for the first time in the US.

 

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (la tentation le plus dangereuse…), 1979
Photowork
175.5 × 125.5 cm
69 × 49 3/8 inches
190.5 × 140.2 cm (framed)
75 × 55 1/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

More views
Details
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (la tentation le plus dangereuse…), 1979
Photowork
175.5 × 125.5 cm
69 × 49 3/8 inches
190.5 × 140.2 cm (framed)
75 × 55 1/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

Astrid Klein
Untitled (la tentation le plus dangereuse…), 1979
Photowork
175.5 × 125.5 cm
69 × 49 3/8 inches
190.5 × 140.2 cm (framed)
75 × 55 1/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (la tentation le plus dangereuse…), 1979 (detail)

Astrid Klein
Untitled (la tentation le plus dangereuse…), 1979 (detail)

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (la tentation le plus dangereuse…), 1979

Astrid Klein
Untitled (la tentation le plus dangereuse…), 1979

Details
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Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (your mind is your own), 1979
Photowork
177.6 × 126 cm
70 × 49 5/8 inches
192 × 138.5 cm (framed)
75 5/8 × 54 1/2 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

More views
Details
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (your mind is your own), 1979
Photowork
177.6 × 126 cm
70 × 49 5/8 inches
192 × 138.5 cm (framed)
75 5/8 × 54 1/2 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

Astrid Klein
Untitled (your mind is your own), 1979
Photowork
177.6 × 126 cm
70 × 49 5/8 inches
192 × 138.5 cm (framed)
75 5/8 × 54 1/2 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (your mind is your own), 1979 (detail)

Astrid Klein
Untitled (your mind is your own), 1979 (detail)

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (your mind is your own), 1979

Astrid Klein
Untitled (your mind is your own), 1979

Details
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The women depicted are distinguished by their sensual femininity and erotic appeal. Many played female leads in culture-defining films, often performing as objects of desire but, above all, portrayed as sexually emancipated characters. Klein’s photoworks deliberately emphasize this paradoxical characterization, but also the women’s inherent strength.

 

Untitled (je ne parle pas, …) (1979) is featuring two depictions of Brigitte Bardot. One faces the viewers frontally, while the other twists around, casting a coquettish glance over her right shoulder. This bodily torsion creates a sculptural, multi-perspectival quality and emphasizes the curvy, female attributes, while the inner rotation presents the figure as a dynamic and autonomous entity.

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (je ne parle pas, …), 1979
Photowork
165.5 × 125.2 cm
65 1/8 × 49 1/4 inches
180.5 × 140.2 cm (framed)
71 × 55 1/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

More views
Details
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (je ne parle pas, …), 1979
Photowork
165.5 × 125.2 cm
65 1/8 × 49 1/4 inches
180.5 × 140.2 cm (framed)
71 × 55 1/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

Astrid Klein
Untitled (je ne parle pas, …), 1979
Photowork
165.5 × 125.2 cm
65 1/8 × 49 1/4 inches
180.5 × 140.2 cm (framed)
71 × 55 1/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (je ne parle pas, …), 1979 (detail)

Astrid Klein
Untitled (je ne parle pas, …), 1979 (detail)

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (je ne parle pas, …), 1979

Astrid Klein
Untitled (je ne parle pas, …), 1979

Details
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Untitled (je ne parle pas, …) (1979) is featuring two depictions of Brigitte Bardot. One faces the viewers frontally, while the other twists around, casting a coquettish glance over her right shoulder. This bodily torsion creates a sculptural, multi-perspectival quality and emphasizes the curvy, female attributes, while the inner rotation presents the figure as a dynamic and autonomous entity.

“Text has been the defining pictorial element of my artistic work since the 1970s. Text and image are, for me, equivalent formal means that I use to develop my works. The text works confront writing and material qualities of reflection and affection.” –Astrid Klein

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (la sans couleur…), 1979
Photowork
169 × 126 cm
66 1/2 × 49 5/8 inches
181 × 137 cm (framed)
71 1/4 × 54 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

More views

Astrid Klein’s characteristic overlay of text in Courier font, reminiscent of typewritten film scripts or manuscripts, underscores an allusion to cinematic storytelling. The letter X has been a recurring symbol in her work from the start, expressing the pictorial nature of language within its manifold meaning, as it stands for underlining, crossing out, a placeholder or, through its visual association with a cross-stitch, for the principle of montage.

Details
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (la sans couleur…), 1979
Photowork
169 × 126 cm
66 1/2 × 49 5/8 inches
181 × 137 cm (framed)
71 1/4 × 54 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

Astrid Klein
Untitled (la sans couleur…), 1979
Photowork
169 × 126 cm
66 1/2 × 49 5/8 inches
181 × 137 cm (framed)
71 1/4 × 54 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (la sans couleur…), 1979

Astrid Klein
Untitled (la sans couleur…), 1979

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 1

Astrid Klein’s characteristic overlay of text in Courier font, reminiscent of typewritten film scripts or manuscripts, underscores an allusion to cinematic storytelling. The letter X has been a recurring symbol in her work from the start, expressing the pictorial nature of language within its manifold meaning, as it stands for underlining, crossing out, a placeholder or, through its visual association with a cross-stitch, for the principle of montage.

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

 

Klein challenges conventional modes of perception. Her motifs instinctively captivate us, while also making us complicit with the male gaze upon the female body. These 1970s photoworks therefore reflect the shifting perspectives of that time, influenced by the second-wave feminist movement. Yet the artist does not admonish; she rather shows by skillfully utilizing ubiquitous, fundamental elements of societal constructs to draw attention to facets of the human experience. In a highly sensual manner, Klein employs her deeply conceptual approach to unveil hidden structures.

 

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

 

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (Tout son rêve…), 1979
Photowork
175 × 126 cm
69 × 49 5/8 inches
187 × 137 cm (framed)
73 5/8 × 54 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

More views
Details
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (Tout son rêve…), 1979
Photowork
175 × 126 cm
69 × 49 5/8 inches
187 × 137 cm (framed)
73 5/8 × 54 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

Astrid Klein
Untitled (Tout son rêve…), 1979
Photowork
175 × 126 cm
69 × 49 5/8 inches
187 × 137 cm (framed)
73 5/8 × 54 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (Tout son rêve…), 1979 (detail)

Astrid Klein
Untitled (Tout son rêve…), 1979 (detail)

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (Tout son rêve…), 1979

Astrid Klein
Untitled (Tout son rêve…), 1979

Details
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1 of 1
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (leave no memories…), 1979
Photowork
176.5 × 126 cm
69 1/2 × 49 5/8 inches
188 × 137 cm (framed)
74 × 54 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

More views
Details
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (leave no memories…), 1979
Photowork
176.5 × 126 cm
69 1/2 × 49 5/8 inches
188 × 137 cm (framed)
74 × 54 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

Astrid Klein
Untitled (leave no memories…), 1979
Photowork
176.5 × 126 cm
69 1/2 × 49 5/8 inches
188 × 137 cm (framed)
74 × 54 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (leave no memories…), 1979 (detail)

Astrid Klein
Untitled (leave no memories…), 1979 (detail)

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (leave no memories…), 1979

Astrid Klein
Untitled (leave no memories…), 1979

Details
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1 of 1

“It was natural for me to make art as a woman. And it wasn’t defined by any political ideologies. I wanted to ask questions, but not send messages.” –Astrid Klein

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (transcendental homeless…), 1979
Photowork
183 × 126 cm
72 × 49 5/8 inches
194 × 132.5 cm (framed)
76 3/8 × 52 1/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

More views
Details
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (transcendental homeless…), 1979
Photowork
183 × 126 cm
72 × 49 5/8 inches
194 × 132.5 cm (framed)
76 3/8 × 52 1/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

Astrid Klein
Untitled (transcendental homeless…), 1979
Photowork
183 × 126 cm
72 × 49 5/8 inches
194 × 132.5 cm (framed)
76 3/8 × 52 1/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (transcendental homeless…), 1979 (detail)

Astrid Klein
Untitled (transcendental homeless…), 1979 (detail)

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (transcendental homeless…), 1979

Astrid Klein
Untitled (transcendental homeless…), 1979

Details
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Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (powerless…), 1979
Photowork
168 × 126.4 cm
66 1/8 × 49 3/4 inches
183 × 141 cm (framed)
72 × 55 1/2 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

More views
Details
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (powerless…), 1979
Photowork
168 × 126.4 cm
66 1/8 × 49 3/4 inches
183 × 141 cm (framed)
72 × 55 1/2 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

Astrid Klein
Untitled (powerless…), 1979
Photowork
168 × 126.4 cm
66 1/8 × 49 3/4 inches
183 × 141 cm (framed)
72 × 55 1/2 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (powerless…), 1979 (detail)

Astrid Klein
Untitled (powerless…), 1979 (detail)

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (powerless…), 1979

Astrid Klein
Untitled (powerless…), 1979

Details
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Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (painting my life…), 1979
Photowork
171.77 × 126 cm
67 5/8 × 49 5/8 inches
183 × 137 cm (framed)
72 × 54 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

More views
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Tentation, 1979
Photowork
163 × 126 cm
64 1/8 × 49 5/8 inches
175 × 137 × 5 cm (framed)
69 × 54 × 2 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

More views

“My work creates spaces that the viewers enter, where they encounter a world of imagery they can walk alongside. In doing so they become part of the art, the surrounding work and its fragments, which he or she perceives as an associative surface. A pictorial space develops between the work and the viewer.” –Astrid Klein

Details
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (painting my life…), 1979
Photowork
171.77 × 126 cm
67 5/8 × 49 5/8 inches
183 × 137 cm (framed)
72 × 54 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

Astrid Klein
Untitled (painting my life…), 1979
Photowork
171.77 × 126 cm
67 5/8 × 49 5/8 inches
183 × 137 cm (framed)
72 × 54 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (painting my life…), 1979

Astrid Klein
Untitled (painting my life…), 1979

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Tentation, 1979
Photowork
163 × 126 cm
64 1/8 × 49 5/8 inches
175 × 137 × 5 cm (framed)
69 × 54 × 2 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

Astrid Klein
Tentation, 1979
Photowork
163 × 126 cm
64 1/8 × 49 5/8 inches
175 × 137 × 5 cm (framed)
69 × 54 × 2 inches (framed)
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Tentation, 1979 (detail)

Astrid Klein
Tentation, 1979 (detail)

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Tentation, 1979

Astrid Klein
Tentation, 1979

Details
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1 of 2

“My work creates spaces that the viewers enter, where they encounter a world of imagery they can walk alongside. In doing so they become part of the art, the surrounding work and its fragments, which he or she perceives as an associative surface. A pictorial space develops between the work and the viewer.” –Astrid Klein

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

 

In the second group of works, visitors encounter the tranquil atmosphere of several large-scale White Paintings (1988–93), which share core ideas with Klein’s photoworks.

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

 

Drawing inspiration from artists such as Agnes Martin, Piero Manzoni, and Robert Ryman, Klein extends their minimal approach and combines white-on-white painting with textual elements, tape, and, in some cases, silver-colored foil that acts as a mirror of sorts – an unreliable one that fails to return a steady reflection. The resulting nuanced layers imply depth that echoes the intricacies of cognition, perception, memory and forgetting. Like an orchestrated collection of fragmented thoughts, these works persistently confront us, inviting us into a moment of ambiguity and contemplation where unanswered questions intertwine with the imagination.

 

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (Wahnzettel), 1988–93
Acrylic, gypsum alabaster, zinc white on canvas
155 × 200 cm
61 × 78 3/4 inches

More views
Details
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (Wahnzettel), 1988–93
Acrylic, gypsum alabaster, zinc white on canvas
155 × 200 cm
61 × 78 3/4 inches

Astrid Klein
Untitled (Wahnzettel), 1988–93
Acrylic, gypsum alabaster, zinc white on canvas
155 × 200 cm
61 × 78 3/4 inches

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (Wahnzettel), 1988–93 (detail)

Astrid Klein
Untitled (Wahnzettel), 1988–93 (detail)

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (Wahnzettel), 1988–93

Astrid Klein
Untitled (Wahnzettel), 1988–93

Details
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Also painted with alabaster, the canvases evoke a sculptural dimension, essentially demonstrating that the artist conceives her works not in a two-dimensional but in a three-dimensional, spatial manner. In Untitled (tragicmagic) (1988–93), for example, painted shapes resemble a curtain that merges into the white background, an invitation to imagine a space beyond.

 

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (tragicmagic), 1988–93
Acrylic, quartz crystals, gypsum alabaster, zinc white on canvas
156 × 220 cm
61 3/8 × 86 5/8 inches

More views
Details
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (tragicmagic), 1988–93
Acrylic, quartz crystals, gypsum alabaster, zinc white on canvas
156 × 220 cm
61 3/8 × 86 5/8 inches

Astrid Klein
Untitled (tragicmagic), 1988–93
Acrylic, quartz crystals, gypsum alabaster, zinc white on canvas
156 × 220 cm
61 3/8 × 86 5/8 inches

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (tragicmagic), 1988–93 (detail)

Astrid Klein
Untitled (tragicmagic), 1988–93 (detail)

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (tragicmagic), 1988–93

Astrid Klein
Untitled (tragicmagic), 1988–93

Details
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Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (prendre les hommes à d'autres pièges), 1988–93
Acrylic, gypsum alabaster, mirror film, zinc white on canvas
165 × 135 cm
65 × 53 1/8 inches

More views

“I see myself as a sculptor and painter whose large-scale sculptural installations always incorporate the architecture as well. I have never tied myself to any one medium. Exploring boundaries – both formally and in terms of content – is an important part of my artistic work.” –Astrid Klein

Details
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (prendre les hommes à d'autres pièges), 1988–93
Acrylic, gypsum alabaster, mirror film, zinc white on canvas
165 × 135 cm
65 × 53 1/8 inches

Astrid Klein
Untitled (prendre les hommes à d'autres pièges), 1988–93
Acrylic, gypsum alabaster, mirror film, zinc white on canvas
165 × 135 cm
65 × 53 1/8 inches

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (prendre les hommes à d'autres pièges), 1988–93 (detail)

Astrid Klein
Untitled (prendre les hommes à d'autres pièges), 1988–93 (detail)

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York
Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

Astrid Klein
Untitled (prendre les hommes à d'autres pièges), 1988–93

Astrid Klein
Untitled (prendre les hommes à d'autres pièges), 1988–93

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 1

“I see myself as a sculptor and painter whose large-scale sculptural installations always incorporate the architecture as well. I have never tied myself to any one medium. Exploring boundaries – both formally and in terms of content – is an important part of my artistic work.” –Astrid Klein

Astrid Klein – Astrid Klein – New York

All installation views: Genevieve Hanson