Artist: Hans Christian Lotz
Venue: Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis
Exhibition Title: Lettere dall’interno del
Date: March 14 – May 3, 2014
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis
In Hans-Christian Lotz’ work there are two kinds of trash. The first sub-category would be organic and inorganic matter – debris and leftovers. In 2009 he hung a precise row of fridge doors on a massive white wall in Dresden that he collected at several waste dumps. The doors were stripped bare of handles and plastic add-ons, but still smeared with kitchen dirt, dust, and fingerprints. They appeared like a series of reports on the dirty abstraction of these commodities’ past. Two years later he vacuum sealed pig brains within panels in straight edge aluminum frames that were originally conceived to keep solar panels together. These works, although these brownish flattened brains are involved, still maintain an idea of beauty that comes with the clean framing and installation. The seemingly ignored questions of aesthetic decisions are still answered in a highly professional manner. He could have put anything in these frames and it would look good, but for some reasons he went for the brains. Tangled up in between disgust, beauty, and prosaic ideas about the pigs’ thoughts and feelings, one wonders how long this or that vacuum sealed brain can resist time, soaked with cheap booze for disinfection purposes.
The other form of trash in Hans-Christian Lotz’ work is his way of handling images that are often transferred from the lower, corrupted districts of the net to posters, T-Shirts, prints, pages, screens and other surfaces. Even these bad images, mainly socially aggressive, dumb posts, receive the same cleansing and sobering up to speak about their social heritage and their decay of meaning and purpose. Now he has built an aqueduct out of latex;; a fairly reduced, generic diorama of a European culture that once cradled the toddler that would later on become the stinking old man of capitalism. These engineering masterpieces are also common reminders of Europa’s cultural heydays that came and went, often sabotaged and postponed by the savage, underdeveloped, inhabitants of Hans-Christian Lotz’ southern German homeland. You can find variations of spanning structures on Euro bills. Back then in 2000 the design was chosen in order to support the efforts of bridge building among Europe’s numerous, diverse states, yet avoiding depicting any specific sites, person or buildings for the sake of a supra-national Mega-Europe.
But the bridges offered in Hans-Christian Lotz’ work are meant to crumble apart once a pedagogic mindset of enlightenment sets foot on it. These interpretations fall short, as the ideas of decay, vanitas, heritage and progress are probably the Bourgeoisie’ most favorite thoughts beside higher education and Saturday brunch. And to claim that the net is a dirty place comes with the class-conscious lie that there are clean places, too. And in those clean places there is some wall space reserved for objects and images to remind us of the long road we walked here or to gaze at the one we still have ahead of us. Hans- Christian Lotz passes on these cultural standards and generously adds the alternative visions bred out by the same bourgeoisie under the influence of drugs, grunge and sexual experimentation. In short Hans-Christian Lotz’ material, via brains, smooth panels or fridge doors, is the idea of cultural production itself, its producers, users and addicts. This is not something groundbreaking, as Goethe, Miro and Gandhi were previously concerned with similar questions. But Hans- Christian Lotz willingly widens the gap between himself and the generic ongoing problems of production. He is overviewing all this from very, very far away. In this extra mile of detachment lies a notion of free will, life itself, joy and independency. Surprisingly his work is neither careless, nor ice cold nor uninvolved, but contains a crystal clear challenge of self-positioning for hard times in which the pigs’ thoughts and feelings are normally fed to the dogs.