la-la-la, la-laa lala-laa Lumen Travo - Amsterdam 2002
(a popstar's life II)



The exhibition's title is sifnificant: with this show Kalaman is moving in the swinging world of pop music with its lack of content. Here, a world of make believe, the shallow and superficial glamour of the disco culture, is shamelesly celebrated,  a world -as the artist puts it,  'without inhoud, without real emotions, without new developments',  a world of 'stupid one-way "exchange"'.  An atmosphere of tinsel that is playing such an important part in the life of the young of these days. With his art Kalaman is  deliberately not aiming at the depth but at the surface of our culture: the disco, the soccer world,  the consumer society,  where brand name rather than quality is the rule, the world of money and stardom.  These are the areas that the masses feel attracted to, the realm of the intoxicating glow, that is brought into light by Kalaman in a humorous and wilfully naive way. The title refers to the Kiley Minoque song: 'Can't get you out of my head'.

The gallery room is dominated by a catwalk. Its surface is completely covered by miniature mirrors. It leads to the gallery's main wall, where in a reasonably large size of type, covered with the same mosaic mirrors, the following words are put:  'your disco needs you' .  The allure of this 'saturday night fever' world finds its unambiguous expression in these words and its reflecting materialization, but not without irony. Elswhere we  can read, made of the same materials but in a smaller size of type, the words 'illusion', 'dope' but also 'pain'.  The artist has also covered a couple of domestic ladders with the same mirroring pieces of glace. All is shine and reflection. The material hides the true character of the object, but at the same time it stesses the danger of climbing, of going up, through its shining and slippery appearance. During the opening of the show (March 23, 2002) the artist did a performance at the  catwalk. Wearing sunglasses and dressed in a Hugo Boss suite that used to be white, but now is covered with stains of gaudy paints, he crawled on the catwalk, played at his guitarre singing the la-la-la tune, cut his hair, left the gallery and asking money from people on the street like a street musician,  and  at the end leaving the street and leaving in uncertainty the gathered guests who were attending the opening. This performance is a continuation of a performance done at Otto Schweins Gallery, that was about stardom.

In line with his artistic language the Cologne artist Robert Lutz (Konstanz 1966, Germany) choosed not to use his real name but the pseudonym 'Kalaman'. With this name as a brand name he has produced various products, like soccer shirts, workman's clothes, a bank logo and a pack of cards.

In his work, life, and as a part of it,  art itself, seems nothing more than a shallow game, a world of pleasure and superficial contacts. But by stressing this shiny surface and its emptiness  the  subcutaneous longing for depth and real emotions, sincere relationship and content, is perceptable.  By its attractictive appearance the visitor is only allured to, at the end, dwell on what actually really matters in life, beyond the rapture of the masses and closer to the individual's perception.

Bert Steevensz