This week: This is the second of two interviews with German artists conducted by Mark Staff Brandl on the island of Elba, Italy. Alexander Johannes Kraut is an artist who concentrates on drawing and printmaking, sometimes reaching installative proportions. He has also created an amazing thirteen chapter wordless graphic novel. Kraut comes from a farming village in the Allgäu, and is now based in Kreuzberg in Berlin. He has lived in many places and exhibited widely in important museums and other venues including in Mexico City, Paris and New York as well as several places in Germany.
The artist was in an invitational retreat in July as a working guest of a foundation on the island of Elba along with Viennese jazz pianist and composer Martin Reiter, New York playwright Sony Sobieski, Ruessellsheim artist Martina AltSchaefer (the interviewee in part one) and Mark Staff Brandl, the Bad at Sports Continental and now also islandal European Bureau. As a note to English speakers: Kraut’s name is not only amusing as the English-language slang for ‘German,’ but also means ‘herb’ in German, and ‘Johannes Kraut,’ called ‘St. John’s wort’ in English, is a plant traditionally used to combat depression and, in ancient times, to ward off evil.