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ROLF KLUENTER - CHRONOLOGY

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This chronology briefly conveys the principal events of Kluenter’s life and his 25-years long involvement in Nepal and China. Compiled by Cynthia Zhu

1956
Born to Hubert and Maria Kluenter in Buervenich near Cologne, Germany, where the family has been running a farm for several generations.

1976
Accepted at the National Academy of Fine Arts in Duesseldorf, where he first studied painting with Gotthard Graubner and later joined the class “Integration of Fine Arts & Architecture” of Erich Reusch.

1980
Received a travel scholarship from the National Academy of Fine Arts, Duesseldorf.
Decided not to go to New York as expected by his teachers, but instead he traveled to Nepal, where he studied local Hindu and Buddhist rituals.

1982
Completed his studies at the National Academy of Fine Arts in Duesseldorf and received the title: "Meisterschueler“ from Professor Erich Reusch.
Returned to Nepal. Kathmandu became his new home.
Appointed as a guest lecturer at Tribhuvan University, Campus of Fine Arts.

1983
Studied Sanskrit with Professor Ghimire and classical Tibetan with Dr. Christoph Cueppers in Kathmandu. Studied Buddhist texts in Sanskrit and Tibetan languages.
Organized the first “European Art Film Festival” in Kathmandu, in cooperation with Goethe Institute and the European Foreign Missions in Nepal.

1984
Photo-documented drawings, illustrations, illuminations and miniature paintings of ancient Buddhist manuscripts at the National Archives, the Keshar Library and several private collections in Kathmandu.

1985
A Nepalese Buddhist priest presented him with a stack of old and unused black manuscripts. He created his first painting on a black paper and painted a "red meander" on the black hand-made manuscript paper. Subsequently began to develop his own black hand-made paper.
Met the Tibetan Buddhist meditation master Sonam Gurme under whose guidance he studied and practiced meditation. Completed several short meditation retreats.

1986
Began to work on clay and wood.
Created giant wall installations with painted shaped clays and woods of various dimensions.

1987
Further developed his method of paper-making and began to blacken the pulp with coal dust. Manufactured the first large and thick handmade paper sheets with the dimensions of 3 x 3 metres.

1988
Appointed as full term lecturer at Tribhuvan University, Campus of Fine Arts.
First solo exhibitions of his work in Europe.
Collaborated with Christian Straetling on the first publication of his works, entitled “red t & other views”. The “red t & other views” works exhibited at Christian Straetling’s project room “inexistent” in Antwerp, Belgium

1989
Coordinated several “visual communication projects” for development in Nepal, in cooperation with UNICEF, GTZ, UNDP, and Nepal TV. Together with his Nepalese art students, he initiated and established the first animation project in Nepal.

1990
Established his atelier in a side wing of the Hiti Durbar Palace, situated in the center of Kathmandu, opposite the Royal Palace of Nepal, which he still maintains until the present day.

1992
Met the German film-maker Christian Wagner and co-organized with him a film-workshop in Kathmandu. Designed the storyboard and developed the key ideas of the screenplay, entitled: “Endless Death”, which is based on the Tibetan book of death and dying.
First 16mm art film, entitled “wiper” with hand –manipulated footage.

1993
Traveled to Tibet, visited several monasteries in the neighborhood of Lhasa and completed a short meditation retreat in Tsurphu.
Extensive travel - photography.

1994
Resigned as lecturer at TU Campus of Fine Arts, but remained in Nepal as a free-lance artist.

1995-96
Several short and medium term Buddhist meditation retreats at monastic retreat centers in the country side of the Katmandu Valley.

1997
Created his first “kaligraphicons” using Indo-Tibetan, Central and South-East Asian calligraphy as key-elements in his work.
Completed a major assignment, the series of 48 works, entitled “the fifth seal”, for the entrepreneur and collector couple Arun and Namita Saraf.
Developed the storyboard and wrote the screenplay for an art movie, entitled: “total eclipse- the artist, his shadow and a tiger”.

1998
Traveled to Shanghai for the first time on the invitation of Liu Hai Su Museum.
First complex and giant black paper installation in his solo exhibition, entitled “total eclipse” at the Municipal Gallery of the City of Gladbeck, Germany

1999
First solo show in Shanghai at Liu Hai Su Museum. This exhibition, titled “pondering-pulsating” showed his most important works on paper, wood and clay from the years 1988-1999.
Decided to move from Kathmandu to Shanghai. Shanghai became his new home.
Created the second giant paper installation, which was exhibited in his solo exhibition, entitled “rahu” at the Linden Museum in Stuttgart, Germany. This exhibition exactly coincided with the actual phenomenon of the solar eclipse at the end of July, which was observed in Southern Europe.

2000
First solo exhibition in New York, at the German House, United Nation Plaza.
Extensive travels in the US and Europe.
Collaborated with American poet and writer Wayne Amtzis on the publication “flatline witness”, which combines Amtzis’s text, his black and white photography and Kluenter’s black paper works.

2001
Married Kathy Kuai whom he met in February 2000 in Shanghai.
Completed the second assignment, a series of 56 paintings and paper objects, entitled “unaccountable objects”, for the entrepreneur and collector couple Arun and Namita Saraf.
Established his Shanghai atelier in Luwan District of Shanghai, within the former French Concession area the city.
Solo exhibition “A - worldwide” at Volkswagen-Haus Rhode, Wolfsburg/Koenigslutter, Germany showed the most important paintings, paper-objects and installations of Kluenter’s “kaligraphicon” project. The works focused on the letter “AH” in its various graphic forms of different cultures from the east and the west.

2002
Introduced stainless steel into his work for the first time with the intention to "join the most ancient of material with the most modern." The black paper and stainless steel installation “soft-core one” was exhibited at the China Millennium Monument Museum in Beijing and subsequently became a part of the collection of the Beijing Cultural Foundation.

2003
Began to photo-document urban changes as viewed from his apartment and observed during his daily walk from his apartment to his atelier in Luwan District, Shanghai.

2004
His installation “the back room” at Art Scene Warehouse in Shanghai showed his understanding of urban space in the form of a room that evokes different connotations: storage, archiving of information, a place of hidden treasures and secrets, of fantasies and memories. Several maps of Shanghai with superimposed computerized images were mounted on one of the windows, hiding the view outside, while at the same time their content served to tie the microcosm of the back room into the macrocosm of the mega-city.
Solo-exhibition “secret room” at the National Gallery Bangkok, introduced the main key-works of his “black paper project” for the first time.

2005
Began painting on canvas in his Shanghai atelier.
Created small objects incorporating materials from his proximate urban environment, such as white bulbs, wires and a variety of industrial metals.
Extensive photography of urban changes.

2006
Re-thinks his interest in film and the potential to incorporate film in his current installations.
Films during his visit of Kathmandu in early January and May.
Invited to the 6th Dutch Paper Biennale at the Rijswijk and Coda Museum, Netherlands and to the 6th Shanghai Biennale “Hyperdesign”.
Invited to participate in the Shanghai Biennial.

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