Klaus Fruchtnis is a Paris based French-Colombian digital artist, researcher and educator. His research is based on the areas of photography, multimedia, digital drawing and media experimentation, as well as collective and participatory projects that involve art, technology, cultural, social and political aspects. His vision of new media fosters more than the artistic aspect; it involves shared projects and initiatives with multicultural partners, new approaches to education and the development of digital literacies. As a committed artist to social and urban development projects, he believes that, in the evolution of society, the role of an artist or a designer is as important as the one of an architect or a city planner. His work has been exhibited, performed and published internationally.
Over the past years, he has developed different projects with museums, art centers, correctional centers, local communities, city councils, universities, etc., and, as a result of this, he has created through his own practice, and as part of his artistic research, highly effective and innovative teaching techniques and pedagogical methods. These include a streaming educational channel with new media content, urban mobile workshops, and engaging in discussions with the directorate of cultural affairs of several cities in France in order to develop technological cultural policies. Fruchtnis was born in Colombia and lived in France, Canada, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Japan and Russia. He is bilingual (Spanish and French) and is fluent in English. He has a BFA in Art & Digital Arts from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts of Paris and Rennes, France, and a Masters in Design Technology, Art & New Media from La Sorbonne University Paris 1 (a joint diploma with ENSCI Les Ateliers and the École Télécom ParisTech ENST.) In 2010-2011, he was part of the EnsadLad research program at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs of Paris, France. He is currently the Chair of Photography at Paris College of Art.
My work incorporates art, technology and space; it is grounded in experimentation with photography and digital art. I create artworks to be in constant interaction with the public. They are conceived like maps: a heterogeneous constitution in permanent fusion, conceptually and technologically, waiting to be revealed by the public.
Through my own practice as an artist, I grant importance to both conceptual and visual research for each project. My work is characterized by constant evolution and the methodology of research.
I attribute much importance to the perception and the expression of my artwork inside – the physical – space, not only concerning the surface or the media used – as support, but also all over the space where it is exhibited. I like to involve the public into each one of my pieces, creating a “fusional relation”, like an event, where the before, during and after, are very important steps of my creative process.
My ongoing research about the image and its origin, started in 2006 in New Zealand. There, I developed a multimedia & photography project called in transit. An architectural and urban research that questioned different centers of interest, which however are all conveyed to the same point: the accessibility to new forms of art. This research/work defined questions of landscape, territory and non-place, meaning a concept and/or mental attitude more than an immediate perception, or recognition of the inhabitable thing.
In 2007, I continued this research with an on-site piece called Sydneyfade, created during my artist residency program at the Sydney Olympic Park.
Sydneyfade (Sydney for a digital ensemble) is a photographic installation that seeks to reveal the digital composition of the image, the construction and density of pixels. My interest was to present an active association between the viewer and the image. I am also interested in the relationship between what is visible and invisible information that the naked human eye can recognize and decipher. With the aid of digital devices, gaining physical proximity and/or squinting the eyes, the image becomes increasingly easier to comprehend.
These past experiences have accentuated my interest for digital art & technology, and also have enhanced a questioning of the cities and the public space. Cross Urban is an ongoing collaboration since 2008 with New York-based Colombian artist Cynthia Lawson Jaramillo. We take turns each week, picking a word from a dictionary to which we each respond with a photograph. The works we are producing, are groups of two images plus the word itself and its definition. We share an interest in time, space, and cities, and through this collaboration we have been able to expand the “language” and “meaning” of each of our photographs.
This process of intensive work begins with the selection of a word, continues with me taking a photograph, but does not end until I see both of our images next to the word, and extend this visual conversation with Cynthia into a verbal one. After 50 groupings we have started to identify the commonalities and differences in our photographic vocabulary and become particularly excited when our images, although taken independently and often in cities thousands of miles apart, are eerily similar.
Cartographical Minds is a series treating the manifold notion of the imaginary space in the modern world, including the idea of what exists or should exist in a given space, whether private, real or imaginary. These images are made to be decoded by the viewer as a map-reader. For the reader not to be distracted by anything which stands in the way of understanding, each map has been encoded using easily understandable signs, symbols, lettering, and lines.
This photography-based project mutates into an array of lines and stories into the imaginary world. After a short discussion with the person I photograph, I seek to recapture memory or significant elements of each person’s past events that might define the person’s mind. Image and space evolve alongside each other. In consequence, I attribute a part of my imaginary world to each of the images, letting them be part of my own story.
The maps capture both the image and the space of an imaginary location that only exists in a common mind. I tried to explore a variety of possibilities on how to present and represent their minds through an image. For that reason, I used a reality-based medium, photography, and an imagination-based medium, the digital drawing.
My creative process is nothing predefined; it’s an evolutionary research of questioning where the interaction with others is a major step in the development. If I attempted to describe it with a few words, I would use this Chinese proverb: “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”