Serge Hasenböhler “One and One”
25 May – 13 July 2019
In the beginning is the individual. Serge Hasenböhler isolates situations with his camera and identifies found objects. Building sites in the area around his studio offer these to him: insulation or packing materials, the remains of snack breaks, traces left by water on the flooring, wood carved by chance. Over the months, some of his discoveries along the edges of the piles of dirt and half-finished buildings found their way into his own visual laboratory. Isolated before a black ground, their incidental objectivity became available for a free and thoroughly experimental combinatorics in the studio. Scales shift. Wood and styrofoam take on the character of autonomous sculptures. Beneath the little board coated in blue, the almost square-shaped cut through a wooden beam mutates into a bottle with a lid or a model of a simple architecture.
“One and One” is addition, is mirroring and rotating. In its digital arrangement, Hasenböhler’s construction kit also permits the improbable. Our gaze glides across the prints like a scanner: nearly immune to illogicalities of light and shadow, we register colour, wood grain and relief. We follow the depressions and projections, which also trace the volume of the hand. It holds. It supports. It balances. Particularly in a pair, it reminds us of the body of the artist. Once a magician, once a juggler, always an experimenter, he determines the proportions of his haptic vocabulary, he measures out or overstrains every stack and sequence. Hasenböhler’s photography outwits gravity, records – one plus one – the protocol of our trust in balance, weight and their interactions. Up extremely close to the thing and nonetheless at the limits of the physically plausible, he stimulates speculations and touches on themes around which modern art has always twisted and turned: the search for harmony and balance gives rise to utopian constructions, the “equilibre” becomes a metaphor when endangered.
Hasenböhler’s work with the labile is not new. The artist has already made use of shells, flowers or butterflies in order to keep his medium, the photographic image, up in the air. They were “case studies”: when natural objects were dipped into a fluid pictorial ground, the sensation of colour and form became mixed with the question of their thoroughly artificial location. There, where an inventory of little blocks now spreads diffusely across the surface, we once again see how analogue and digital, the haptic and its simulation, dynamism and stagnation maintain a balance: no explosion precedes the explosive charge of elementary particles. It spreads across the vertical format of the images like the reliably calculated distribution of pixels in the screen savers from the early days of our PCs. Every ordering is an experiment. And an homage to the individual within the whole.
Isabel Zürcher, May 2019 Translation : Michael Wetzel