EDDING on Paper 50 x 60cm / EDDING on Paper 70 x 100cm
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Human integuments are in constant dialogue with their environment, on the one hand; on the other, they delimit themselves from the latter and form a shield against particular mechanical and chemical influences. A principle of protection and sealing that lends the human surface a certain stability of form, among other properties. In skin’s dialogic relationship with the environment, personalized contact surfaces are opened up to its wearer by courtesy of visual or tactile relatedness. Zones of subjective reality that model man. In Hans' digital constructions, partial elements of this skin-stable form are blended with textures from the man- produced world of objects. Hans arranges this clash of forms and textures as a unit, as a dialectic game between subject and object. Within this synthetic game of alternating object references, an aesthetic form unfolds that points functionally to an allegorically interpretable notion of “visual recombination”. The method arrives at congruity at the point where subject and object, as a result of fusion, generate a change in the register of attribution of meaning and generically safeguard the image’s category against appropriation as a result of the generated ambivalence.
The Line and the Dot. Surreal Legacies in the Photographic Oeuvre of Odo Hans.
Odo Hans’ photographic works show themselves to be inspired by strategies of the exposure of parts, of dismemberment and faceting which have their firm place in 20th-century avant-garde art. Hans’ partial views correspond to surrealist methods and techniques of decontextualisation. He not only inherits the surrealist delight in the artistic autonomy and exposure of individual facial areas which makes his views look alien and improbable to us. His particular interest is directed towards formations on the surface, which is not comprehended as the subordinate expression of depth; the true seat of depth is found in the actual and privileged locale of the person. With his chosen edits, the photographer distances himself from disambiguating and homogenizing conceptions of the face, and approaches notions of the face as an entity or a structure whose wholly different geometric expansions and elevations has been possibly put together by chance, without any internal logic. “Compositions” is Hans’ name for the image details, which loosen the face-parts precisely from their “mutual dependence” which is crucial to the face’s impact and owe their surreal, dynamic momentum to the attributes light, perspective and macroscopy.
In an age which celebrates skin-beauty in the sense of a smooth, hairless and spotless surface, Hans has recourse to the artistic resource of “making strange” that was demanded by the Russian Formalist Viktor Schklowski in 1916 in order to de-automate perception and steer it towards the essential. By bringing out the skin’s surface with every pigment spot, every wrinkle or bulge-like unevenness, with thickets of hair or shaved stubble as pointillist skin-rasterization, Hans compels the beholder into genuine seeing, as though the phenomenon were stepping before his eyes for the first time. Thus, in the found object SKIN (“objet trouvé” in the sense of object art) he allows a kind of landscape to arise, which calls on the beholder to reflect on beauty – or ugliness – in its relation to the natural, but also on the condition humaine in general. Odo Hans artistically enigmatic segment-photographs of furrowed, bulging, hairy or shaved human skin, scattered with pigmentation, show elements of Abstract Expressionism and thus generate a new kind of access to the body, including its grotesque dimensions with the likes of Mikhail Bakhtin in mind.