Wisdom and commodity view  sleep of reason images
Jürgen Trautwein's "the sleep of reason exhibition" @ Margit Haupt gallery, Karlsruhe
Four tires for 64 dollars - now that’s a deal. And if one is lucky there comes a missing child with it, for free; for the parents of course. In the Margit Haupt gallery in Karlsruhe
lies at present a small pile with mail distributions. Jürgen Trautwein, 1958 born in Bruchsal, artist and living in San Francisco since 1992, brought them along from the USA and integrated the prints into his exhibition. In one side one finds advertisement, on the other the label “Shop Wise” a missing person announcement.That is common practice in the States.
Trautwein’s artistic starting point focuses on these advertising notes from California. Trautwein takes what he finds in the cheap consumer world, and transforms it, with sometimes only minimal formative interferences, into aesthetic statements about the conditions of our present. “I shop therefore I am” determined by Barbara Kruger 1987 in a photo work as a provocative allusion on Rene Descartes basic idea “cogito ergo sum”: I think, therefore I am. Trautwein doesn’t come along that categorically. In his work the different ways of life pass into each other - certainly not without breaks and by any means not in such a way, that it would be without something to think about.
Trautwein uses simple colored printing papers and transforms them into a variety of painterly-colored patterns. One might easily forget that these standardized papers are industrially manufactured products. Conversely a drawing does not have to remain an unrepeatable single piece, but if duplicated it becomes part of a comprehensive general context, where meaning and statement levels are overlying each other: With his work “Eternal Female”,  Trautwein puts paintings inspired by famous artists into the common Brown Bags of the American supermarkets: Thus he trivializes the pictures and turns them at the same time into art again, they retain - because the bag is an inseparable  component of the work - one moment of what, in the end, is unfathomable. It’s a moment, which instantly can again completely be resolved. It constitutes the meaning of Trautwein’s drawings, paintings, installations, where the tension between wisdom and commodity, meaning and banality cannot be dissolved. “NIESATT” is called a Neologism, which Trautwein formed from the words ‘’nie’’ (never) and ‘’satt’’ (full). If one replaces the double T at the end with a D, “NIESAD” arises, a Palindrome: If read backwards it becomes “Dasein” (existence) - which is sometimes not so easily understood, just like the term NIESAD. And so Trautwein brings in his work the issues to the point but still leaves them open.        
Michael Hübel, published at  Badische Neuste Nachrichten, May 11th 2005
Translated by j7s