If Eckart Hahns paintings were films, they would be slow-placed narratives where even the most awkward, mumbled interaction carries weight and there are no punchlines. His work is about re-contextualizing the mundane and repackaging in it such stylized ways that we are forced to see the strangeness in what once was familiar. The German artist has a penchant for using bright color fields to organize his compositions with a designer’s eye. Though they involve living characters, his works have the quality of still lifes as everything, from deflated balloons to crows and dogs, seems to be placed with intention.
In some pieces, he opts for ultra-saturated colors that evoke pulp-y book covers (why is it that so many of them relied on a specific shade of acidic yellow?) without quite stepping into kitsch territory. In others, his figures are so dimly lit that viewing the painting is like experiencing the moment when one’s eyes adapt to darkness. Hahn toys with the idea of the macabre, but doesn’t quite go there either. Knives, rope and even a red liquid that uncannily resembles blood appear in some of the works, yet this is our only evidence that something unsavory may be occurring in the artist’s quiet, meticulously-created universe.
Eckart Hahn is a representational painter, whose art seems to be stylistically close to surrealism. He explores archetypal images and collective moments, whilst trying to bring them together in agreement. Hahn calls this place of unification place “images on the cigarette butt”. Through the abstraction of the characteristics of an object and its contents, he fills the old issues with new meaning. He paints into the objects a social dream diary. His conversations of bold ideas are expressed in the shown images.
La Familia refers to a classic family portrait from the 19th century. It is a sign of structure, yet such manifestos result in disarray. Previously life paths were somehow clear, we got married, the wife stayed at home and then you have children. That is now completely gone. These social norms have now been reinvented. In principle, the burning of old ideas is also a kind of liberation, although change can be painful to some. Our time now requires the individual to know a lot about himself or herself first before decided on this pattern. We all have a desire for large images - we just want to find love, have a home somewhere grounded and yet when needed, we are far away from being able to identify that exactly.
My initial idea was to do something with the corny theme of porn, but in the broadest sense wary of porn aesthetics. So I initially represented people as bags, also because of their distance to the subject. In retrospect, some of the works have become very intimate. I have been quiet amazed at how these garbage bags have gained in some strange arrangements dignity and beautiful aesthetics. What I’ve since felt is that I actually went from A to Z with different themes. Thus, the figure of a saint or the Madonna are painted in bags, serving as a metaphor for something that is gone, disposed, yet still deeply has a spot within us.
In the art work Beauty I’ve used an image that is everywhere on the Internet today, the explosion. Beauty originated from the idea to assign our everyday images of explosions and destruction with a feature of our human species. Considering the aesthetics and fascination of something, destruction does not recognise these traits, thus you will never be able to think in any constructive way about it. Simply destruction promotes an unconditional observation of things. Also, in destruction is a transformation, like that seen in fireworks.
I was at the hardware store I found that I was surrounded by fir trees. Actually, it was the same as this picture with the colour. So I'm here in the studio then a bucket of emulsion paint tipped over it, that's kind of an almost desperate gesture to produce a ‘White Christmas’. Since a ‘White Christmas’ is less about Christmas and Christ’s birth, and much more a big cliché: namely a ‘White Christmas’. Christmas means comfort and familiarity for us. So this moment when the paint tipped over for me concerns me, for me it represents the artificial production that has become Christmas.