Although everything in her text videos might seem easily accessible at first glance: who leaves whom which message – where these text fragments come from – is not explained to the viewer. The written words are, moreover, too vague for viewers to draw precise conclusions about their origins. Perhaps the pieces deal with processing Kliem’s own agonizing working process? Or is the artist making fun of common artistic clichés, well aware of the efficiency and productive power sometimes hiding behind deliberate, affected gestures of disorganization?
As we all know, this is precisely what’s most difficult: making everything look easy.
Questions regarding the authentic or autobiographical content in this work arise, but are not resolved. The “voices” that “speak” in Kliem’s videos or on her posters belong to fictional characters who offer themselves for identification. Although we know so little of them, they still seem very familiar to us. Kliem collects her material in her everyday life; she filters e-mails, text messages, notes, or conversations. But the narrative structures she constructs using language gleaned in this manner follow open patterns. This allows her to better depict the inextricable tangle of work and life. This approach has nothing to do with the denunciation of an independent working practice as “muddling through.” She also avoids falsely romanticizing, or even glorifying, the precarious status with which many artists actually struggle.
Perhaps Kliem’s work is best conceptualized as a sympathetic real-time narration of the here and now, for which she finds the appropriate visual solution with enviable surety. The form of a text, for instance, which seems to write itself with an invisible hand before the viewer’s eyes – as in her older text videos – recalls the well-known visual grammar of screen-based media. The fact that Kliem lets her texts run in loops also evinces an elegant interweaving of form and content.“
Noticing one has gone in circles is normally an indicator of having gotten lost,” Diedrich Diederichsen writes. “But many people also find it quite pleasant.” The viewer should not, therefore, imagine the fictive subjects who leave their traces behind in Kliem’s films and posters as unhappy people.
Kito Nedo, 2009