Konrad Klapheck, born in Düsseldorf in 1935, has chosen to call this new exhibition at Galerie Lelong "Derrière le rideau” (Behind the Curtain). "There are many types of curtain, and a distinction should be made between the curtain that closes, pulled by a Mozartian viscount who wants to hide the liberties that he is taking with the attractive chambermaid, and the curtain that opens onto a theatre stage or a musical," the artist explains. Indeed, the title is very apt given that in the recent works that form this collection he shows us artists, musicians and contortionists performing with the curtains open, and couples who, with the curtains closed, demonstrate a certain form of intimacy. But Klapheck does not stop at this obvious duality which implies that the open curtain represents the public sphere and the closed curtain the private world. He also paints nudes who expose themselves in front of the curtains, during a life drawing class, for example, or a musician observing the public from behind the curtain, just before going on stage.
For this exhibition, Klapheck also presents some new “machines”, these strange and familiar works that he has been painting since the mid-1950s. In these paintings, we find the same meticulous rigour, the same surprising and disconcerting strangeness as in his 20th Century works, proof that he had not lowered the curtain on them.