Hail! (train)

It is clear that ethics cannot be put into words.
Ethics is transcendental.
(Ethics and aesthetics are one and the same.) Wittgenstein

My creative research is driven by a radically skeptical relationship to language. I am not simply ambivalent about certain ideologies or perspectives, but am genuinely distrustful of all language. Its determining influence on our perceptions of reality and the horrible acts that language can inspire never ceases to disturb me.

I’m concerned with many different aspects of communication, from simple chatter about opinions and ideas, declarations of law, proclamations of belief, up to and including the more complex, mass communications of media, government, and technology.

I’m interested in the ways that we communicate the social, in the ways that we are conditioned by the laws, traditions, and behavioral customs of state and cultural institutions. I’m also especially interested in the expressions of state power, in the soft power of its marketing and branding, and in the hard power of its policing, punishment, and violence.

My sculptures aim for legibility, but also mean to emphasize the ambiguity and paradox that language can obscure. I want them to be clear on the surface, but also clear about the contradictions and absurdities that lie beneath. My performance work documents my ongoing struggle to make sense of what I feel is life’s absurdity. I often perform difficult, repetitive actions as metaphors for life’s mundane routines, and can thereby physically affirm my commitment to living and working despite life’s stubborn vanity, absurdity, and doom.

My artistic work is essentially a philosophy mistrustful of language, where I can maintain the dialogue via the sculptural and the performative, where I can pose questions as objects, and look for answers through my actions.

Fifth Column

Dietmar Krumrey Artist, writer, and curator with degrees in literature and visual art, co-founder of Lost Coast Culture Machine, an interdisciplinary art gallery and hand papermaking studio, currently teaching writing and literature at Central Michigan University.


Give and Take
Hail! (siren)
Law Enforcement
Loud and Clear
Over and Out
Standard of Living
World Record
Independence Days