From the prehistoric skulls covered in plaster to the modern-day selfie, portraits have always been among the most important forms of visual art. Evolution has trained us to read the nuances of human facial expression with a higher degree of sensitivity than any other visual input, and for good reason. From finding a mate to sensing a foe, our ability to read subtle facial expressions is critical to navigating many of the most important and meaningful aspects of life.

Our supercharged sensitivity to these facial signals creates a playground for portrait artists like Espen Kluge who can combine, bend, exaggerate, and break these signals to manipulate us and make us feel with heightened intensity. 

Kluge’s portraits feel monumental and architectural, reminding us of the sculptures of the Russian constructivists like Naum Gabo and Vladimer Tatlin. But in contrast to the somber character of the Constructivists, Kluge’s work explodes with a rainbow of color and emotion. Though the details of their expressions are abstracted into masses of colorful geometric threads, Kluge’s portraits display the full range of the human condition. This is especially remarkable when you consider that Kluge is working in the genre of generative art, often criticized for being cold, geometric, and esoteric. Kluge gives generative art a new direction with work that is warm, universally approachable, and equally accessible to both the heart and the mind. 

Espen Kluge is a polymath of renaissance proportions: A composer, a visual artist, and a creative coder. You may recognize his name as the composer behind the musical score for the Norwegian television show Who Killed Birgitte? As with his film scores, Kluge’s portraits series -- which he has titled Alternatives -- provides us with a thoughtful lens into the nuanced world of human emotion. We are thrilled to announce that Alternatives will be exhibited for the first time worldwide at Kate Vass Galerie in Zürich.  

OCTOBER 30TH, 2019 - JANUARY 30TH, 2020