Press Release Tania Franco Klein | Proceed To The Route

First solo exhibition in Europe at ROOF-A
Proceed to the Route is the title of Franco Klein’s presentation at ROOF-A. It’s her first solo exhibition in Europe, where she shows a generous selection of her acclaimed photo series and videos from the past five years.

The public moves with her through an imaginary travel diary, encouraged by its title, which takes on the connotation of a commandment. It’s what navigation systems instruct when the GPS connection breaks down, as Franco Klein personally experienced in the desert region of California. That’s where she created portrait photos, in the style of stills from a road movie. The repeated text “Proceed to the route” offers a dubious life lesson. “And yet,” says Franco Klein, “my characters are stuck in time rather than buzzing with energy.”

© Tania Franco Klein, Proceed To The Route from Proceed To The Route, 2018

About the work of Tania Franco Klein - The glow of cinema images in the dark
The photographic work of Tania Franco Klein (b. Mexico, 1990) takes up entire walls, with intense colours and the glow of images lit up in the cinema. She studied architecture in Mexico City and photography in London. Thanks to this, her double background and specialization becomes clearly visible in the spatial presentation of her photographic material. The spectator enters a cinematic setting, coming close to the protagonist herself. This is her own beautiful alter ego. With wigs, red lips, and ravishing spectacle frames, Tania Franco Klein appears as a Hollywood film star. She poses, or rather hangs around, in desolate, vast landscapes, along highways and airports, in swimming pools and motel room interiors.  Always on the move, yet nowhere to be found. It’s as if she’s driven by appearances – by the deceptive temptations and the loss of the American dream.

The maze of digital screens that surrounds us
One of the inspirations for her work, she says during a Zoom interview from the Cannes film festival, is the maze of digital screens and displays that surrounds us. “Everything fits into the palm of a hand: from news on violent wars to selfies. My characters lose themselves in that mix of public and personal projections.

This duality has everything to do with the madness of late capitalism; the overload of news, opportunities and traps, social media, and advertising. The motto is that we can handle the whole world if we’re able to be the best version of ourselves. Do you know the book The Burnout Society by Byung-Chul Han?

It was a huge eye-opener for me, as it explains in great detail how our hyper-connectivity and self-exploitation affect the unity with ourselves and our environment. As an artist, I feel akin to Jenny Holzer, who sums up this dilemma in coloured neon slogans: Protect me from what I want.”

(c) Tania Franco Klein, Contained (Self-portrait), from Our Life in the Shadows, 2016

Tania Franco Klein uses her camera as a mirror to the soul, with an added filter of glamour and discomfort. Tailored to the space, she combines monumental wall prints with loose and framed photographs, plus TV monitors with moving images. In this way, she unfolds a hypnotic setting, filled with suggestions. Two life-size close-ups of a woman stretched out, floating under a golden water surface, seduce the eye. One photograph hangs slightly higher than the other.

It’s beautiful, but also breath-taking, a sensation felt before you’ve even looked twice. The intoxication of water sparkles in which the woman is bathed disintegrates through the split screen, as does the woman herself. With her red lips shining in a perpetual moment of transition, she recalls legendary portraits of Ophelia, Hamlet’s lover who suffered from a broken heart and drowned under mysterious circumstances. Tania Franco Klein’s golden water may let the sun through, but it still conceals unfathomable worlds.

This exhibition is a collaboration with ROSEGALLERY.

Text: Wilma Sütö.