Artist concept – Hans Hafner

directionsHans Hafner creates mixed media artworks and films. With a subtle minimalistic approach, Hafner considers making art a craft which is executed using clear formal rules and which should always refer to social reality.

His mixed media artworks sometimes radiate a cold and latent violence. At times, disconcerting beauty emerges. The inherent visual seductiveness, along with the conciseness of the exhibitions, further complicates the reception of their manifold layers of meaning. By applying a poetic and often metaphorical language, he wants to amplify the astonishment of the spectator by creating compositions or settings that generate tranquil poetic images that leave traces and balances on the edge of recognition and alienation.

His works appear as dreamlike images in which fiction and reality meet, well-known tropes merge, meanings shift, past and present fuse. Time and memory always play a key role. By focusing on techniques and materials, he seduces the viewer into a world of ongoing equilibrium and the interval that articulates the stream of daily events. Moments are depicted that only exist to punctuate the human drama in order to clarify our existence and to find poetic meaning in everyday life.

His works are characterised by the use of everyday objects in an atmosphere of middleclass mentality in which recognition plays an important role. By emphasising aesthetics, he creates work through labour-intensive processes which can be seen explicitly as a personal exorcism ritual. They are inspired by a nineteenth-century tradition of works, in which an ideal of ‘Fulfilled Absence’ was seen as the pinnacle.

His works are notable for their perfect finish and tactile nature. This is of great importance and bears witness to great craftsmanship. By taking daily life as subject matter while commenting on the everyday aesthetic of middle class values, he often creates work using creative game tactics, but these are never permissive. Play is a serious matter: during the game, different rules apply than in everyday life and even everyday objects undergo transubstantiation.

His practice provides a useful set of allegorical tools for manoeuvring with a pseudo-minimalist approach in the world of mixed media art: these meticulously planned works resound and resonate with images culled from the fantastical realm of imagination. By referencing romanticism, grand-guignolesque black humour and symbolism, he creates work in which a fascination with the clarity of content and an uncompromising attitude towards conceptual and minimal art can be found. The work is aloof and systematic and a cool and neutral imagery is used.

His works are often classified as part of the new romantic movement because of the desire for the local in the unfolding globalized world. However, this reference is not intentional, as this kind of art is part of the collective memory. Hans Hafner currently lives and works in Berlin.

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