5.2. – 18.4.2022
Zentrum für Aktuelle Kunst, Projekt room
The exhibition Train Lines focuses on the microcosmos of “public transport” from the perspective of draftsman and artist Benjamin Kunath, who has also been a driver on Leipzig trams since 2014 and, since 2021, on Berlin underground trains. Hundreds of drawings have been produced during this time from his observations from the driver’s compartment or his intensive examination of travel maps, wagon numbers and duty rosters.
His drawings, analogous to the timetables or duty rosters, always laid out in DIN A4, not only record city-spatial situations but advance to become the complex mind-map of an artist who measures the urban context of the big city from the streetcar or underground and makes it the subject of multi-layered observations. In Kunath’s pieces, urban life condenses at the edge of public transport, where stations become places of social observation. The artist deals with the countless minor incidents as well as major events along the routes that affect or sometimes even interrupt the predetermined flow of the railway lines. Benjamin Kunath is only too happy to get involved in such disruptions, not only to take note of them but to document them studiously.
The only decisive factor is his subjective perception, for these are not factually objectifying notations, but highly individual decisions about which event, which persons or which personal activities or even individual moods find their way into the very unsystematic system of Kunath’s cartography.
The form of the drawing is largely subordinate to the content. Always beginning without a sketch, seals, keywords or names provide an initial topography that takes shape directly on the page, between which drawn lines establish multiple connections and relationships. What Kunath creates are not pictorial compositions developed along classical lines but rather drawn systems of notation of a social, political and psychological nature. Just as a temporal and spatial context is generated from the many small events, the small-format drawings add up, as it were, to an artistic, social atlas as a wall-filling tableau.