5 Years

Tim Bennett, Jenny Dunseath, Jonah Gebka, Andrea Hanak, Jane Hayes-Greenwood, Hannes Heinrich, Melina Hennicker, David Henrichs, Stefanie Hofer, Lukas Hoffmann, Lou Jaworski, Steffen Kern, Stefan Lenhart, Jo Love, Michael Lukas, Robin Mason, Kathrin Partelli, Rebecca Partridge, Plastique Fantastique, Berthold Reiss, Miriam Salamander,  Michael Schmidt, Maria Thurn und Taxis, Stefanie Ullmann, Maria VMier, Susanne Wagner, Youjin Yi, Andrea Zabric, Janka Zöller.

23.07 – 19.09.2020

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5 Years

Tim Bennett, Jenny Dunseath, Jonah Gebka, Andrea Hanak, Jane Hayes-Greenwood, Hannes Heinrich, Melina Hennicker, David Henrichs, Stefanie Hofer, Lukas Hoffmann, Lou Jaworski, Steffen Kern, Stefan Lenhart, Jo Love, Michael Lukas, Robin Mason, Kathrin Partelli, Rebecca Partridge, Plastique Fantastique, Berthold Reiss, Miriam Salamander,  Michael Schmidt, Maria Thurn und Taxis, Stefanie Ullmann, Maria VMier, Susanne Wagner, Youjin Yi, Andrea Zabric, Janka Zöller.

23.07 – 19.09.2020

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Image: Hannes Heinrich

Hannes Heinrich

Look Mum No Hands

15.03 – 3.05.2019

 

fullsizeoutput_deaHannes Heinrichs, Look Mum No Hands, 2019, installation view

 

fullsizeoutput_dd7Hannes Heinrich, o.T., 2019, oil on canvas, approx. 65 x 50 cm

 

fullsizeoutput_dacHannes Heinrichs, Look Mum No Hands, 2019, installation view

 

fullsizeoutput_dd5Hannes Heinrichs, Look Mum No Hands, 2019, installation view

 

fullsizeoutput_ddfHannes Heinrichs, Look Mum No Hands, 2019, installation view

 

fullsizeoutput_de0Hannes Heinrichs, Look Mum No Hands, 2019, installation view

 

DSCF2394_04-XFHannes Heinrichs, Look Mum No Hands, 2019, installation view

 

fullsizeoutput_de2Hannes Heinrichs, Look Mum No Hands, 2019, installation view

 

fullsizeoutput_de5Hannes Heinrichs, Look Mum No Hands, 2019, installation view

 

fullsizeoutput_de7Hannes Heinrichs, Look Mum No Hands, 2019, installation view

 

fullsizeoutput_de3Hannes Heinrichs, Look Mum No Hands, 2019, installation view

 

fullsizeoutput_dd9Hannes Heinrichs, Look Mum No Hands, 2019, installation view

 

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(All images courtesy of Hannes Heinrich and Jan Erbelding)

 

When one thinks of the description, “a reflective painter” one thinks of a solitary man in studio, quietly considering each brushstroke he makes. Morandi and his objects for instance, slowly gathering dust – Raoul de Keyser would be a more recent example, a “painter’s painter,” pausing when painting the bark of the birch tree to ask, in a very serious voice, “What is a painting?” and hear nothing but silence as his response. 

Hannes Heinrich is a reflective painter in this contemplative sense. He works alone in his studio paintbrush in hand. He has a set of motifs he repeatedly returns to, an inventory of which would read as follows: grids, trees, branches, shadows, shadows of hands, woodgrain. All of these motifs have strong art historical references. The grid reminds us of how the canvas is woven but also of modernist painting. The shadow paintings recall the story of Butades’s daughter, Kora, tracing the silhouette of her lover. Larger than life handprints are like those left in prehistoric caves. Heinrich combines and recombines these elements systematically in a palette of blues (deep ultramarine and pale, like a robin’s egg) reds, yellows and black. Sometimes the grid is painted first, other times, the tree branches in oil crayon. At other times it is difficult to discern the painting process, as despite being painted in layers, the surface seems even, each block of painting lightly resting against the next. There are abstract paintings and more figurative ones and a concern with the boundary between abstraction and illusion. There is no privileging of the original in the classical sense, painting considered to be twice removed from its Platonic form – no stress over painting’s capacity for representation. Heinrich seems happy to be part of the contemporary post digital world, where the kind of illusion offered by figurative painting is one of many and where talk of originals has long ceased. 

But to call Hannes a reflective painter also does him a disservice. It neglects the natural exuberance of his work, its openness, its willingness to engage the viewer. Contemplation implies solitude and while Heinrich’s paintings are certainly thoughtful they are also chatty. The question, “What is painting?” is not asked to silence, set within the four walls of the small studio. It is not even asked to the other paintings that might already be within. It is asked to us. And not in a demanding fashion, expecting us to know, but in a friendly way, with a slight nudge and half smile, “Hey, what IS painting?” Don’t you want to know?

Magdalena Wisniowska 2019

Hannes Heinrich

Look Mum No Hands

15.03. – 03.05.2019

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Vernissage: Freitag 15. März, 18 – 21 Uhr,
15. März 2019 – 3. Mai 2019
Bitte nach Vereinbarung unter contact@gig-munich.com
Finissage: Freitag 3. Mai 2019, 19 – 21 Uhr

 

GiG Munich is excited to open 2019 with the solo exhibition by Hannes Heinrich, Look Mum No Hands.

Hannes Heinrich (b. 1989) is a figurative painter, recently graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich (Klasse Kneffel). His work has an easy, natural exuberance, a riot of colour and psychedelic-type patterns, Matisse-like brushstrokes and woven grids. His motives are often art historical, as if taken straight out of 19th century academic paintings. There is the myth of Zeuxis and Parrhasius, competing for status of best painter, Butades’ daughter, Kora, tracing her lover’s shadow and wood grain belonging to the carpenters table, two times removed from its Platonic ideal. In his work however, painting’s capacity for illusion lies not at the origin of painting, but is treated as one option out of many available for the painter. Resemblance here no longer belongs to a discourse of the copy and the original but a Road Runner world happy to be full of simulacra, copies were no originals exist. 

 

EASY images and text

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The exhibition was not meant to be called “EASY.” As is often the way, it started with the opposite idea. At the time I was reading Deleuze’s late essay on Beckett, “The Exhausted,” and wanted to do a show, which would make use of its definition of the image. “It is extremely difficult to make a pure and unsullied image, one that is nothing but an image,” writes Deleuze and seeing the late Beckett plays I could believe this was the case. “Of course it is not easy to make an image…”

As all four artists – Jonah Gebka, Hannes Heinrich, Steffen Kern and Janka Zöller – work with images, Deleuze’s definition seemed appropriate. Things changed after I visited them in their studio. We were talking about the possibilities available to contemporary painting and I gave the example of Gerhard Richter – how at the time, to do both, abstraction and figuration, was a challenge that filled him with anxiety. To which Janka replied, “What, only two? Bah!”

Painting now is not difficult in the same way it was 40, 30 or even 10 years ago. Opening up to new possibilities, expanding some pre-conceived notion of what painting might be, what it might do in a contemporary critical context no longer holds the same kind of urgency. And if not, if painting is no longer defined by that kind of hardship and struggle, it would seem painting must be easy instead.

In various ways, Jonah Gebka, Hannes Heinrich, Steffen Kern and Janka Zöller acknowledge this lack of anxiety in their work. For them the fact that painting might seem easy is a strategy, offering a means with which they can engage with the viewer.

Jonah’s work is about surface. Through a variety of means (digital manipulation, engagement with printing processes, the use of mixed media) he makes the surface of the image, specifically its physical aspect, apparent to the viewer. For GiG, he shows a watercolour on paper, stretched around its wooden frame. The image is of a generic blue and white checked deck chair, like those found around pools in holiday resorts around the world. Yet the image is not found, but carefully constructed by the artist.

Janka’s interest lies in contemporary cultures, both high and low, traditional and post-digital. For her current project – and she has many – Janka combines lyrical, Matisse-like abstractions with paintings of eyes taken from her Instagram selfies. Always starting from scratch, always on the move, she paints with restless energy, quickly and directly. The two components of her work, abstraction and figuration, sit next to each other without speaking, never coming together to form a coherent whole.

Hannes works with painting’s capacity for illusion. At its most basic, a grey patch can be a shadow; a few crisscrossing lines make it clear that one lies on top of the other. Is it surprising how little it takes to produce the impression of an endless sunset? He paints wooden frames around his paintings and uses paintings of wood to make sculptures. But unlike the mythical Parrhasius he never tries to trick the viewer into believing that what he sees, might be real. For Hannes, illusion is something very obvious and in its obviousness, intimidating.

Steffen likes to transform one visual register into another, often changing the original narrative along the way. For his drawing “O.T.” he takes a performance by Ana Mendieta and describes it in a few lines of text, referring to the filmed nature of the piece through the introduction of VHS type glitches. In “Props” he takes some tools he found abandoned in an attic and covers them in black paint. They now exist in a no-man’s land, never quite achieving their fictional potential because never quite losing their status as useful objects.

Magdalena Wisniowska, 2017

Save the date: EASY opening on the 28th of April!

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Over the years painting has been many different things. Painting had meant something; it could do things. It was utopian in its aspirations. Then painting was dismissed as elitist and patriarchal. There was the death of painting and its inevitable return. Good painting, bad painting, painting that could be critically viable, provided it tests the limits of representation. What painting was not, was easy. The painter and his struggle was a dominant 20th century narrative, clearly manifest on canvas, visible for all to see.

For the group of young artists participating in EASY, Jonah Gebka, Hannes Heinrich, Steffen Kern, Janka Zöller, the challenge is different. Their effort goes into removing all traces of worry from the pictorial surface, so that painting becomes, quite suddenly, easy. “Easy” is their strategy, their way into painting. It is also a way in for us, painting’s audience, to discover what painting might be.