Mathias Kessler


Mathias Kessler

Artist statement


My recent work, Disasters of Climate Change (After Goya’s Disaster of War) comprises collecting images from last year’s catastrophic fires in California and elsewhere in the world where fire has torched and consumed landscapes, villages, and houses, killing many people and animals. I was viscerally fascinated by the images of the fire raging through people’s lives. Like Hurricane Sandy, which I witnessed in New York, climate change prediction has become a fact. It’s a warlike situation that we humans face and that we created, and it is one that we have to adapt to. Change won’t come easy for us, but reality will creep up on our daily lives. I came across a process of burning bitmap images into paper used for printing woodcuts or other printing processes. I liked the idea of using the content as a mode of production. As the saying goes, fight a fire with a fire.


Mathias Kessler, born 1968

Disasters of Climate Change (V), 2019,
Laser cutter burned bitmap image into standard graphic paper, 45 x 70 cm


Mathias Kessler, born 1968

Disasters of Climate Change (VI), 2019,
Laser cutter burned bitmap image into standard graphic paper, 45 x 70 cm


Mathias Kessler, born 1968

Disasters of Climate Change (VII), 2019,
Laser cutter burned bitmap image into standard graphic paper, 45 x 70 cm


Mathias Kessler, born 1968

Disasters of Climate Change (VIII), 2019,
Laser cutter burned bitmap image into standard graphic paper, 45 x 70 cm


Mathias Kessler, born 1968

Disasters of Climate Change (IX), 2019,
Laser cutter burned bitmap image into standard graphic paper, 45 x 70 cm


Mathias Kessler, born 1968

Disasters of Climate Change (X), 2019,
Laser cutter burned bitmap image into standard graphic paper, 45 x 70 cm


Mathias Kessler, born 1968

Disasters of Climate Change (XI), 2019,
Laser cutter burned bitmap image into standard graphic paper, 45 x 70 cm


Mathias Kessler, born 1968

Disasters of Climate Change (XII), 2019,
Laser cutter burned bitmap image into standard graphic paper, 45 x 70 cm


Mathias Kessler, born 1968

Disasters of Climate Change (XV), 2019,
Laser cutter burned bitmap image into standard graphic paper, 45 x 70 cm


Mathias Kessler, born 1968

Disasters of Climate Change (XII), 2019,
Laser cutter burned bitmap image into standard graphic paper,45 x 70 cm


Mathias Kessler, born 1968

Disasters of Climate Change (XIII), 2019,
Laser cutter burned bitmap image into standard graphic paper, 45 x 70 cm


Mathias Kessler, born 1968

Disasters of Climate Change (XIV), 2019,
Laser cutter burned bitmap image into standard graphic paper, 45 x 70 cm


Artist bio


Born in Kempten, Germany in 1968, New York–based artist Mathias Kessler engages our collective idea of nature by staging natural processes that are then scrutinized under the lens of art history, philosophy, and eco-political debate. His work acts as a catalyst, revealing the tension between human interventions and our desire for authentic natural experiences. Rooted in a long photographic tradition, his images, computer-generated landscapes, and installations move beyond photography landing in the field of abstraction, taking the viewer into a journey through the dichotomies of nature and culture, representation and experience, and ideology and aesthetics.

Kessler received his MFA in art practice from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 2013. His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions, within the United States and worldwide, including the Spencer Museum’s 2018 exhibition Big Botany: Conversations with the Plant World. He has also curated several exhibitions in collaboration with Dr. Dieter Buchhart, at the Austrian Cultural Forum New York in 2012  and 2008.

Kessler’s work has been featured in international publications, some of which include: Kunstforum International, Band 258 Kunstnatur I Naturkunst, The New York Times, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Cultured Magazine, Blouin Artinfo, Bloomberg Press, Kopenhagen DK, Eikon, Kunstforum, Studio 360, ORF SAT 3, Camera Austria, Die Zeit, Forbes, Prefix Magazine, and Art Bulletin.