Eckart Hahn’s New Paintings Toy With Kitsch and the Macabre

by Nastia VoynovskayaPosted on

If Eckart Hahn’s paintings were films, they would be slow-placed narratives where even the most awkward, mumbled interaction carries weight and there are no punchlines. His work is about re-contextualizing the mundane and repackaging in it such stylized ways that we are forced to see the strangeness in what once was familiar. The German artist has a penchant for using bright color fields to organize his compositions with a designer’s eye. Though they involve living characters, his works have the quality of still lifes as everything, from deflated balloons to crows and dogs, seems to be placed with intention.

In some pieces, he opts for ultra-saturated colors that evoke pulp-y book covers (why is it that so many of them relied on a specific shade of acidic yellow?) without quite stepping into kitsch territory. In others, his figures are so dimly lit that viewing the painting is like experiencing the moment when one’s eyes adapt to darkness. Hahn toys with the idea of the macabre, but doesn’t quite go there either. Knives, rope and even a red liquid that uncannily resembles blood appear in some of the works, yet this is our only evidence that something unsavory may be occurring in the artist’s quiet, meticulously-created universe.

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