©2019 by SMK. Enjoy This Trip!

ARTIST BIO

Micha Klein was born in Harderwijk, The Netherlands in 1964. A punk rocker and skateboarder in his teens, with a passion for music, art and fashion, he moved to Amsterdam in 1983 to study at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy for Fine Arts,

 

Starting out as a painter he discovered one of the first personal computers later in his studies, and graduated in 1989 as the first artist to receive a BA in computer-graphics. 
 
Since then exhibitions of his works, featuring monumental photo-panels utilizing diverse digital techniques and styles can be seen in galleries and  museums worldwide. His digital "paintings" draw attention with  their bright colors and smooth surfaces, but show underneath, a unique  world with references to art history and pop culture.  
 
In 1998 the Groninger Museum honored Micha Klein with a  retrospective of 10 years of his digital art and video. 
 
After that, shows followed in London, Tokyo, Milan and San Francisco. In 2000 a show at the prestigious Mary Boone Gallery in New York started  his career in the United States. Rapper Eminem went on tour using Klein's notorious character "Pillman" in specially made background projections. 
 
Klein's work is in the collection of the following museums: LACMA Los Angeles, Denver Art Museum, Arken Museum Denmark, Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Groninger Museum, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Amsterdam Historical Museum, and in various international corporate and private collections. 


Micha Klein has been at the front of the VJ movement since 1988,  when he introduced his rhythmic editing of computer graphics and video at warehouse parties, pioneering live VJ'ing as we now know it. He brought the concept to Ibiza (1997) with a residency in Pacha, and has done gigs all over the world from WMF (Berlin), Twilo, Lotus (New York), Crobar, Opium Garden, BED (Miami), to Vertigo (Jakarta). Klein’s 8 hour VJ sets accompanied the first 25.000 people stadium concerts by Tiesto (2003/2004), his NYE concert at Hollywood Palladium(2005), the Space Mountain Party at Disneyland Paris (2006), the ‘In Search of Sunrise’ album release party at the Heineken Music Hall (2007), and his first concert in Kiev (2007) 
 

In the Netherlands he has won the LSDA "Best VJ Award" for 2 years  in a row - and the Gouden Kabouter "Best VJ" for 3 years in a row - both of these prizes are awarded by the Dutch audience. During AVIT UK (2003) Klein was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the international VJ scene.  
 
With ‘Metadreams’  the software company he founded in 2001, he is creating the interactive media software Videoflux, which he’s using for his performances, and of which the online version has been used for award winning cross-media campaigns by Coca-Cola, and Nokia. 
 
Micha has designed a Swatch artist-watch (1996), and his first Coca-Cola commercial (2001) aired 400 times in the Netherlands, and was used by more then 25 countries worldwide. His second one "Bubble Dream Girl", featuring a soundtrack by Tiesto, came out in 2003.  
In 2009 his ‘Nescafe by Micha Klein’ design coffee machine was successfully introduced. 
 
Studio Micha Klein (SMK) is his high end computer design studio which serves international clients like: Coca-Cola, Hugo Boss, Heineken, and Walt Disney. Hollywood movie projects include: 'Around the World in 80 Days' (2004), for which Micha Klein designed the titles and animated transitions,  and scored much critical acclaim; and ‘Chuck & Larry’ (2007) that showed Micha’s video projections in one of the scenes.  
 
Micha currently lives and works in Bali, with his wife, who is a concert pianist, and 2 beautiful Bali born daughters. 
He's working on a new series of  artworks and sculpture, and designing for his street-wear label "Drop The Pill"

COLLECTIONS

Works by Micha Klein can be found in the following collections:

  • Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles (USA)

  • Denver Art Museum, Denver (USA) 

  • Arken Modern Art Museum, (Denmark)

  • Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg (D)

  • Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (NL)

  • Groninger Museum, Groningen (NL)

  • Amsterdams Historisch Museum (NL)

  • Kent & Vicky Logan Collection (USA)

  • Dutch Embassy Collection Miami (USA)

  • Rabo Bank collection (NL)

  • Caldic Collection (NL)

  • KPN Collection (NL)

  • Dornbracht Collection (Germany)

  • Erasmus University Collection (NL)

  • J.P.Melchior Collection (NL)

  • Martijn Sanders Collection (NL)

  • Tyler London Group Collection (UK)

  • Stuyvesant Collection (NL)

  • Gemeente Vlissingen Collection (NL)

  • Richard B. Sachs Collection (USA)

  • Marinotti Collection (Italy)

  • Nicole Miller Collection (USA)

  • NIMk - Netherlands Media Art Institute (NL) 

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SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2007

  •  Show Off; Club Love International Army introduction, B&D Studio, Paris

2006

  •  Art Basel/Miami; New Works and Installation; 39/40 Street, Miami, USA 

2005

  •  Artificial Beauty Installation, Festival Walk, Hong Kong, China     

  • Art Statements Gallery, Hong Kong, China      

  • Overview, Artspace Willem3, Vlissingen, NL

  • Artificial Beauty video-installation, Lokaal 01, Breda, NL 

2004

  •  Introduction to Asia, Art Statements Gallery, Hong Kong, China 

2003

  • Icons, Idols, and Fetishes, Robert Sandelson Gallery, London, U.K.

  • Icons, Idols, and Fetishes, Torch Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2002

  • Icons, Idols, and Fetishes, B&D Studio, Milan, Italy 

2000

  • The Arrival of the Rainbow Children; Mary Boone Gallery, New York, USA 

  • The Arrival of the Rainbow Children; Robert Sandelson Gallery, London, U.K.

  • The Arrival of the Rainbow Children; B&D Studio, Milan, Italy

1999

  •  Robert Sandelson Gallery, Cork Street, London, UK

1998

  • Micha Klein Retrospective 1988-1998, Groninger Museum, NL (Cat.)

  • Double Date, Gallery Sfeir Semmler, Hamburg, Germany

  • Artificial Beauty, Gallery Six Friederich, Munich, Germany

  • Artificial Beauty Show, Bloom Gallery, Amsterdam, NL 

1996

  •  Virtualistic Vibes, Groninger Museum, Groningen, the Netherlands 

1993

  •  Klein’s Goodies Show, Bloom Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

1992

  • Survey 1985-1990, Witzenhausen Meijerink Art Space, Amsterdam, NL

1989

  •  Light Boxing, Gallery Apert, Amsterdam,  The Netherlands  
     

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

  • Dreamland, KUNSTEN - Arken Museum of Modern Art, Aalberg, Danmark 

  • Teutloff Meets Ars Sacra - Salzburg Museum Neue Residenz, Salzburg 

  • Various Artists - Almost For Free - Torch Gallery, Amsterdam 

  • A Tribute to Photography - Primo Marella Gallery Milan, Italy

  • Die Mauer lebt - Leonhard Ruethmueller Contemporary Art, Basel, Switzerland

  • Beauty Farm. La bellezza del corpo tra idealizzazione e Ossessione - Palazzo Durini - Fondazione Durini, Milan. Italy

  •  La Grande Fotografia, Palazzo Reale, Milano, Italy

  • Art Cologne, Leonard Reuthmuller, Cologne, Germany

  • The Moscow World Fine Art Fair, Leonard Reuthmuller Gallery, Moscow, Russia

  • Art Moscow, B&D Gallery, Moscow, Russia

  • Curve pericolose, Casa del Pane, Milano (Italy)

  • The Trip-Pop Game, LipanjePuntin artecontemporanea, Trieste (Italy)       

  • Supermodels II: Real vs Unreal, LipanjePuntin artecontemporanea, Roma (Italy) 

  • Arte e Omosessualità, Palazzo della Ragione, Milan, Italy

  • Vamos a Ibiza, 50 years of Dutch Art on Ibiza, Arti & Amicitae, Amsterdam, Ibiza

  • London Photo, Introduction of Club love International Army Series

  • Images of Man Today, Arken Museum, Arken (Denmark)

  • Dangerous Beauty, PAN - Palazzo delle Arti di Napoli, Napoli, Italy

  • De Italiaanse Verlokking, Museum Het Valkhof, Nijmegen, (catalogue) NL

  • Arken Collection, Arken Museum of Modern Art, Denmark 
     

  •  About Face, Photography and the Death of the Portrait, Hayward Gallery, London (Cat.) 

  • A Nudo, San Benedetto del Tronto (Ascoli Piceno), Italy (catalogue)

  • Making Faces, The Museum de L'Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland

  • Hot Shots, Stip Galerie, Amsterdam , The Netherlands

  • Canarias Mediafest, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain

  • Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam at Usce, Museum of Contemporary Art, Beograd (Serbia) 

  • Limbo, Galleria 3G Arte Contemporanea, Udine, Italy (catalogue)

  • Face. Photography's Dealings with The Human Face, Ciulturgest, Lisbon (Portugal)

  • The Ballroom Blitz, Gimm-Eis Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark

  • Point of View, 30 years of Dutch Video Art, Montevideo, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Filmlounge, Films van Nederlandse Fotografen, in 7 filmtheaters. The Netherlands

  • Imagerie, Art Fashion, Musei del Grand Canal, Trieste, Italy, (catalogue)

  • Melting Pop, Palazzo delle Papesse, Siena, Italy

  • Melting Pop, Civico Museo d'Arte Castello di Masnago, Varese (Italy) 

  • RETROSPECTACLE,The Denver Art Museum, Denver. USA

  • Deluxe, Plaza de Espana, Madrid, Spain, (publication)

  • A’dam & Eve, De Appel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (publication)

  • Klein, Kwaaitaal , De Verbeelding, Zeewolde, The Netherlands

  • My Reality, Contemporary Art and the Culture of Japanese Animation, Tampa Museum of Art, USA (touring through U.S. Museums till 2003)

  • Film Lounge, Films van Nederlandse fotografen, N.F.I., Rotterdam

  • De Grote Hoop, Stedelijk Museum, Schiedam, The Netherlands

  • I’m Someone Else, curated by C.Sluysmans, Amsterdam, The Netherlands -  

  • Armory Show 2002, New Work at B & D Studio, New York, USA

  • Lookalike, Nederlands Foto Instituut, Rotterdam, The Netherlands 

  • Between Earth and Heaven, Museum of Modern Art, Oostende, Belgium  (publication)

  • From the Low Countries, reality and art from 1960 – 2001, Copenhagen, Denmark

  • Totemica, Feticci e Rituali del Contemporaneo, Montova, Italy (publication)

  • International Biennal for Graphic Art, Ljublijana, Slovenija (publication)

  • Art Forum Berlin, Video Installation .Hans Mayer Gallery, Berlin, Germany

  • My Reality, Contemporary Art and the Culture of Japanese Animation, Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, USA (publication) traveling through U.S.A. ,Chicago, New York

  • Light Gallery Space, Faenza, Italy (publication)

  • Border Stories, 9th Biennal for Photography, Turin, Italy (publication)

  • Sexual Healing, Reflex Gallery, Amsterdam,The Netherlands  

  • Italia, il Richiamo Eterno, Flatland Gallery, Utrecht,The Netherlands 
     
     

  • SUPERMODEL: Identity and Transformation, Lipanje Puntin Gallery, Trieste, Italy

  • The Look Behind, with Daniele Buetti, Thomas Ruff and Sam Samore.Portfolio Kunst AG, Vienna

  • Trapassato Futuro, Cartiere Vannucci, Milan, Italy (publication)

  • Art 2000,London / Basel Art fair, Switzerland/ Armory Show, New York /    Arco, Madrid /FIAC, Paris/ International Photography Fair, Paris Photo

  • Bodies, Clothing and Surfaces; Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg

  • Blondies and Brownies, Torch Gallery Amsterdam

  • Fouri Uso 2000, The Bridges, Art on the Highway, Pescara, Italy(publication)

  • Style, Psychosis, and the ethics of self transformation, Robert Sandelson Gallery,London

  • Ghost in the Shell: Photography and the Human Soul 1850-2000,  Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LA, California., USA 

 
 

  • Alluci Nation, BND Studio, Milan, Italy

  • Spirituality of Beauty, Marella Arte Contemporanea, Milan, Italy (publication)

  • Tendance, Abbaye Sainte-Andre centre d’art contemporain, Meymac, France

  • Visions of the Body: Fashion or Invisible Corset, The National  Museum of  Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan (publication) 

  • Chemistry, World Expo, Lisbon, Portugal

  • Bloom Gallery, London Art Fair, London, UK

  • Bloom Gallery, Basel Art Fair, Basel, Switserland 

  • Cyberrealism, Gallery Photology, Milan, Italy 

  • Het Oog als Lasspparaat, Stedelijk Museum, Schiedam, the Netherlands

  • Portraits of Reflection, Artotheek Oost, Amsterdam 

  • Peiling 4, Hollandse Nieuwe, Groninger Museum, The Netherlands  (publication)

  • Highlights of the eighties / nineties, Groninger Museum 1993 

  • Landroh, Franciscus, Klein, Gallery Snoei, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

  • Breda Photographica, De Beierd, Breda, The Netherlands

  • Morgen gemaakt, Arti et Amiciteae, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (publication)

  • Peep "O" , Artolux, Ghent, Belgium 

  • The Chill Cave, Torch Gallery, Amsterdam

  • The Comfort Zone, The Living Room, Amsterdam

  • Fodor Longa Res Brevis, Fodor Museum, Amsterdam

  • Protectors (100 Amulets), Bloom Gallery, Amsterdam 

  • History of the Electronic Page, ICA, Amsterdam

  • You Can’t Touch This Hands On/Hands Off, Fodor Museum, Amsterdam (publication) 

  •  Gemeentelijke kunstaankopen (Museum purchases),  Fodor Museum, Amsterdam

  • Twelve Channels, Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam (publication) 

  • Klein / Landroh, Galerie van Rijsbergen, Rotterdam

2014

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1990

1988

BEYOND PHOTOGRAPHY

Micha Klein (1964) explores the media based culture of our time using advanced computer technology. Art historical references, youth culture, and mass media are the recurring subjects of his work.  
 
Starting out as a painter, growing tired with the post-modern condition and looking for a new field of artistic innovation, he discovered an unused Amiga computer in the cellar of The Rietveld Art  Academy in 1987, and quickly recognized the opportunities it offered for new artistic directions, ways to present art, and ways to redefine the position of the artist.  
 
Technology was still in its infancy, but the possibilities of what would become multi-media were already evident to Klein, who dropped the paintbrush in favor of the mouse immediately.  
 
Klein stood at the cradle of the digital revolution that transformed photography forever when he started working at the company that bought the first computer capable of digitally handling photography at a resolution sufficient for undetectable manipulation: the ‘Quantel Graphic Paintbox’.  
 
He worked with the top Dutch commercial photographers to manipulate their shots into the hyper reality of modern advertising by retouching, color correcting, and combining elements of different shots into perfection. 
 
Klein refers to this period as: ‘the time when photography died on the operation table of the ‘Paintbox’, and was dissected with surgical precision into it’s smallest parts, to be redefined with the methods of painting. The death of photography, and the revenge of painting’  
 
His realization of the impact that commercial images have in daily culture, compared to modern art’s effect on it, led to the insight that his art, ‘should compete with the seduction tactics of advertising, in order to be noticeable in the general cultural discourse’.  
 
Micha Klein's works form a significant crossover between art, fashion, youth culture, marketing, advertising, web and design.  
 
Before ‘Toy Story’ hit the cinemas, and 3D computer graphics became familiar, Klein’s Goodies Series from 1993, seduced and confused gallery visitors that where confronted with an image language for which they didn’t have a frame of reverence yet.  
 
Klein projected Pillman, a 3D dancing pill in the clubs challenging the way we think about altering our consciousness, our moods, our sexuality by taking certain chemical combinations, be they legal or not.  
 
In his ‘Virtualistic Vibes Series’ (1995) Klein combined 3D virtual photography with real photography. The large scale contemporary group portraits depicting a new generation resemble the group portraits we know from art history by artist as diverse as Degas, Courbet, or 
even Raphael. By introducing the human element in the virtual world he lifts its alienation and catches the spirit of his generation.  
 
The series was published in leading international magazines, and because of its complete novel style, became highly influential. Klein was asked to do several advertising campaign, and his type of composed group portraits was popularized in campaigns by amongst others Steve Klein, and Mario Testino for Dolce & Gabana, years later. 
 
Klein is reassessing Pop Art. Everyday and popular culture has long been an integrated element in art, and Klein brings everything that is usable over from this world. Nonetheless the definition of art plays a pivotal part in his works.  
 
His 'Artificial Beauty Series' (1998) deals with our cultural obsession with physical beauty, it raises questions about beauty, genetics, plastic surgery. Klein photographed the ten most beautiful models in Amsterdam, with morphing software he started 'cross-breeding' them, creating 'daughters' of the original girls, even more beautiful, but artificial this time. By accelerating this beauty creation process, he shows its inherent superficiality. 
 
‘Club Love International Army’, Klein’s last series, (2005-2010) contrast with his utopian work from the ‘90’s. The extremely detailed group portraits, are a reflection of the socio-political changes since 9/11.  
 
Reminiscent of 17th Century paintings like ‘ the Nightwatch’, they present a dark scenario, and a call to  action, to defend the spirit of freedom & love, in the times of sinister religious fundamentalism and narrow-minded conservatism, that followed the ’roaring 90’s’ 
 
 
From the book ‘Beyond Photography. Photography & Imagination’ ISBN 978-90-78068-341