Hannu Prinz

Lange nicht mehr dagewesen
28.10.2022 – 28.11.2022

“Long time no see.” Indeed. Life kept getting in the way. Then there was the pandemic. But we’re still around. As is Hannu Prinz. More present than ever, he is offering us an exquisite little retrospective. With works such as “Die Schwelle” (“The Threshold”) from 2015 (horse fur and acrylic on canvas) and “Akire Olleh” from 2012 (oil and acrylic on canvas). Both are formal transgressions of boundaries. The former is ethical, the other medial. For Hannu Prinz, horse fur was the ultimate realization of visual haptics. “Ethically and painterly, it was a challenge for me then and probably even more so today. But I could not escape this material,” he recalls. “Akire Olleh” is visualised language, an unconventional poem, an experiment in translation and the coexistence of disciplines, an ode to artistic freedom.

And where is the common thread? Simply everywhere. It stretches across the room like a spider’s web, making access difficult and making it physically exhausting to approach the works. But then suddenly, they are very close. Very open, full of gaps that invite the viewer to read between the lines. They are there and they do not want anything. They function for themselves. But when an outside perspective is introduced, a foreign view, a new perspective, then they come to life, they become truth and story at the same time.

When Hannu Prinz swapped his brush for a sewing machine in 2009/2010, he began to approach image making in a new way, addressing a wider range of senses and challenging the mind in a new way. Since then, his focus has increasingly been on materiality, haptics, paradoxes and the meaning of things. Chance is taken into account, along with old familiar patterns. In order to direct, break and make use of them at the same time. By turning materials from our everyday lives into image carriers, or rather image components, Hannu Prinz’s works are charged from the outset. Like objets trouvés, they play with their original meaning or function and through the change of context and perspective, they create an almost surrealistic way of looking at things. Inspired by theatre and film, we are invited to slip into other worlds and to dream, to follow longings. Fastening devices such as zips or buttons serve as keys and codes for entering another sphere or role. To paraphrase Gottfried Keller’s “Kleider machen Leute:” fabrics stand for people’s desires and their need for representation. Even in the full knowledge that it is hollow appearances that seduce us. But facing Hannu Prinz’s works, we gladly follow appearances, they lead us to ideas that we could never dream of on our own.

Anna Lattmann