© Hanspeter Hofmann

© Hanspeter Hofmann

Hanspeter Hofmann
Supercritical Fluids

Joanne Tatham & Tom O'Sullivan
Think Thingamajig and other Things

Frédéric Post
Le Temple de l'Extase

Hanspeter Hofmann: Supercritical Fluids
A few years ago, the Glarus artist Hanspeter Hofmann (born 1960, lives in Basel) fixed the point of departure for his painting work in a series of woodcuts. These organic structural meshes serve as a basic formal vocabulary which he further develops into colorful image worlds, by sorting, condensing, cross-fading, and combining them. His paintings result from the playful interaction with the matrix he has determined, coming out of a process that takes calculation and randomness equally into account. The abstract image worlds of Hanspeter Hofmann may semantically awaken a multitude of associations, but they elude the ability to be named concretely. Something nature-like obviously resonates in the organic form structure, which is however broken by the use of highly artificial, often iridescent colors; as Beatrix Ruf points out, "we haven't trusted nature to be natural for a long time".

Recently, Hanspeter Hofmann has used a new vocabulary in his pictures, a vocabulary which does not fit harmoniously with his previously known compositions, but which rather overlays the meshes of forms visually, materially, and in content: Representational, but pictographically stylized forms and characters made out of cheap foil divert the viewer's eye from pure painting and abduct it into the realm of iconic sign. It seems as if the artist wants to call into question the radical and serious nature of his painting, which characterizes his pictures along with their playful aspect, using a dose of self-irony, through the act of violently adding a conspicuous level beyond the realm of painting. The painted canvas, which previously captured all the attention, thereby loses its autonomy and now becomes part of the overall picture: The canvas henceforth serves as a background, as a backdrop for supposedly precise contents conveyed through words. At second glance, the terms employed turn out to be loud and empty word shells, which may claim the viewer's attention in the clever manner of advertising, but which nevertheless convey no clearly delineated message. The characters and "pictograms" therefore shimmer between overdefined content and arbitrariness. They are slogan-like characters that undermine any interpretive approach of his previous paintings.

For his individual exhibition in the Glarus Art Museum, Hanspeter Hofmann not only has created a new series of paintings, but has also adapted the dimensions of his canvases to the architectural context of the exhibition halls. He thereby radically expands his usual painting formats and dares to take the step toward a type of mise-en-scène installation of his painting.

A publication will be issued in conjunction with the exhibition.

Joanne Tatham & Tom O'Sullivan: Think Thingamajig
and other Things
The Glasgow artist duo Joanne Tatham (born 1971 in West Yorkshire) and Tom O'Sullivan (born 1967 in Norwich), who have worked together since 1995, attracted attention last year in the Tramway exhibition space in Glasgow with their installation "HK". Six-meter-high black letters formed the three-dimensional slogan "Heroin Kills", undermined by its monumental nature. Tatham & O'Sullivan, whose works are in the tradition of concept art, are concerned with the questioning of the parameters of art, the investigation of what contemporary art can be and what it can accomplish. The installation "HK" therefore operated in the realm between purely artistic statement and social reality (given that Glasgow is the British city with the highest rate of heroin addicts). Tatham & O'Sullivan draw their image and form vocabulary from a rich store of existing languages, extending from art history over applied arts, esotericism, and pop music to theater, while their interest is primarily in hyper-encoded and iconic forms. Their installations are however more than merely a sampling of various quotes; they are a clever play on the multireferential nature of the characters employed, not least of all satirically referring to the clichés of installation art.

The installation "Think Thingamajig and other Things" is being developed for their first large individual exhibition outside the United Kingdom; in the center of their installation stands a pyramidal object with mystic insinuations. "Thingamajig" is a term that aptly characterizes Tatham & O'Sullivan's objects: They seem to be familiar, yet they do not allow themselves to be easily placed in an existing category. But "Thingamajig" is also the title of a particular object in the exhibition, a small black cube, on the sides of which a pink diamond form appears. Cult object? Art? Tatham & O'Sullivan understand how to blur the boundaries and to filter the fine nuances out of their objects and installations, despite their tendency toward the theatrical and strong productions: namely the nuances between the basic elements of quote, pastiche, and parody.

Frédéric Post: Le Temple de l'Extase
In his work, the Geneva artist Frédéric Post (born 1972 in Annemasse) draws from the esthetic forms of expression and the experiences of club culture. Himself a member of the musician collective Electrobeast, he makes artistic production and musical performances flow together. The artist even invented a technique a while ago that allows LPs to be produced at minimum cost: The process (as well as the corresponding, home-made mini-label) is called Miracol, with which vinyl records are cast with white glue and the sounds are thus played "from back to front". Frédéric Post does not transfer the underground into the exhibition hall as it is, but rather reduces some of its elements ad absurdum. He will accordingly show an installation in the Glarus Art Museum based on the idea of a fictional sect (but not completely dissociated from reality), the cult of which is not directed at a guru, but rather at the worship of the state of (drug-induced) intoxication, of ecstasy in and of itself. Post transforms the basement hall of the Art Museum (formerly the natural science collection) into the hypothetical meeting room of the "Temple de l'Extase". This room unites elements of religious architecture and esoterically alienated functional architecture and evokes a mood that makes the visitor forget the institutional context of the room. The artist plays with the fact that various drugs are linked to various esthetic ideas in Western culture: Cannabis is thus often linked with the colors of Jamaica, batik, and images of the music icons of reggae; LSD and other hallucinogenic drugs more with loud, bright colors, psychedelic forms, and elements from Hindu religions. Ecstasy and related synthetic pills in turn refer less to exotic countries and esoteric-spiritual backgrounds, but rather to our current Western culture with its prestigious consumer goods.

The Frédéric Post exhibition belongs to the series "Echange", an exchange program of institutions and artists across the language boundary initiated by the Swiss Art Association. A publication will be issued in conjunction with the exhibition.

Ausstellungsdauer: 19.4. - 15.6.2003
Oeffnungszeiten: Di - Fr 14 - 18 Uhr, Sa/So 11 - 17 Uhr

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