Taking It Personally: .lab-podcast episode with Christian Bazant-Hegemark

I was asked to talk about art and life, with Emily Tolman. The conversation has been published on Spotify and YouTube.

From the show notes: “Meet Christian Bazant-Hegemark, a painter, game developer, lecturer and more. On this episode of TIP, we talk about some of the flaws of art school. What it teaches us and how that differs from what we actually need to be taught in order to navigate the art world. We talk about schedules, being your own manager, networking and much more. Stick till the end to get some TIPs for artists!

An excerpt from around 29:00: “I’m not sure whether I can think of a ‘biggest’ frustration (about the art market) right away — but I think maybe one challenge is that .. people start making art for very idealistic or maybe also egoistic reasons. It’s about expressing yourself, learning a complex language or craft; I don’t think that many people start making art because they want to make money.
So then you develop your competencies and you get better at what you do — and it often feels very linear: you get better you get better. And you also understand more about art history, because you also dive into it, you want to understand the system that you are in; and then you understand that what you do cannot so easily be a linear story, because others pursue entirely different stories or aesthetics or contexts.

And so already this shows each of us who make art, that this can be a very complex and long journey. And none of this is related to economic aspects. It’s really just this very beautiful, or maybe very overwhelming, approach to living a life.
And then, all of a sudden, this doesn’t work. Because of course you need some means to live a life, economically. I don’t know why the ideal very often is to make art full time, because that would mean.. already from the word, it sounds like a full time job; but of course in a full time employment situation you automatically get money — the only thing you need to do is to show up, and not mess things up. And with art, you can show up, and make amazing work, and you don’t get a single Euro or Dollar or anything. What does this mean?


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Christian Bazant-Hegemark, interviewed by The Lighthouse Review

The Lighthouse Review published a text about me and my work; here are some excerpts:

“Chris’ work focuses on the individual. Ranging from intimate portraits to theatrical compositions, a recurring theme is how one singular person interacts with the world – which might as well begin in their own mind. The people in Bazant-Hegemark’s works are mostly on their own: they sit and ponder, they wonder, they stare into their phones, they stay inactive while the world burns. There’s apathy and yet also empathy, which shines through his care for rendering people; with oil, ink or pencil – from detail to detail.”

“I’ve always been curious about how each of us interprets the world; what processes operate consciously, but also pre- or subconsciously. These kinds of questions were why psychoanalysis eventually became important to me. Psychoanalytic therapy makes you more sensitive to the words you use, and what specific meanings they might have for you. This made me more mindful about etymology, but also about phonetic similarity between words. If you slur “couple beer” in German (“ein paar Bier”), it can sound very similar to “paper” (“Papier”). This kind of displacement can happen subconsciously in dreams, and depends on your personal use of language; not everyone would see these examples as sounding similar. This can aid you in interpreting your dreams, but obviously also makes you wonder why you choose certain topics for your artworks. I began interpreting my urge to paint “leaves” as a subconscious focus on leaving. The German word “Blatt” translates to both “leaf” and “sheet”; since I made multiple artworks on Origami constructions over the years, I was wondering whether, through various indirections, my focus on Origami constructions might be connected to my focus on leaves – because in my native language, they share the same word. If so, are these Origami pieces semantically about paper and folding? Or are they pieces about the fear of being left?

Browsing through Christian’s work, one find themself taking in layers and layers of emotion, processing them as both an introspection and a glimpse into the thoughts and focus of figure, texture, color, the building blocks of a work. The themes and subject of the drawings and paintings are shown through visual storytelling, a narrative for the viewer to follow to digest situations, events, and ideals as seen through the marks of the maker expertly laced into each piece.

“Kindness of Strangers” video

I created this video about the works of the Kindness of Strangers – series from 2019.

I stopped taking meds two years ago. I didn’t anticipate the new depth of feelings I encountered once everything wore off — and neither did I anticipate feeling seasick for half a year, as a result of stopping the meds from one day to the next.

I made this series of paintings and drawings while seasick — focusing on leaves. I didn’t understand why, but in the great way of Daniel Pitín, I didn’t need to know: I wanted to open a gate. Premature understanding could only limit this.

When the works were finally exhibited (first at Galerie Voss/Dusseldorf then at Reiners Contemporary/Marbella), I understood that I benefitted the most from interpreting them psychoanalytically: by considering Freud’s displacement and condensation (“verdichten und verschieben”).

These were works about the notion of leaving, about having been left, about the joys and sorrows and uncertainties of someone leaving. You can leave home, a family, your life.

I recorded the footage for this back in 2018, forgot about it, and then found it randomly last week (it doesn’t feature all the works of this series). The music is an improvisation over a track I recorded last summer on the the Octatrack — enjoy. 🙏

Jaqueline Scheiber/minusgold about my work “Equilibrium” at Landesgalerie Niederösterreich

The State of Lower Austria bought my work “Equilibrium” in 2014. The piece was part of the exhibition “Ich bin alles zugleich – Selbstdarstellung von Schiele bis heute” at Landesgalerie Niederösterreich, which ran from Mai 2019 to August 2020. During the exhibition, Jaqueline Scheiber/minusgold was commissioned to write about some of the exhibited works. Here’s her text.


Equilibrium, 2010 | oil on canvas
200 × 115 cm

“Waiting” on national television

During the Corona lockdown in 2020, Markus Greussing produced a feature titled “Waiting – A Forgotten Art” for Austria’s national television (ORF).

The idea was to feature several individuals and their thoughts on the lockdown — but with the lockdown ending quicker than expected, a ninety minute show was cut down to 10 minutes.

The cut-down feature was published on May 25th 2020, and included some of my work and thoughts:

Markus Greussing/ORF visiting Christian Bazant-Hegemark's studio for national television ORF

Lockdown video

The state of Lower Austria commissioned several artists to create a video work on their lockdown situation.

This is the work I created; it shows paintings created since the Corona lockdown began, mixed with a piano improvisation recorded on January 26, 2020.

Curated Group Exhibition: “Viennese Videogame Aesthetics” (2015)

In 2015 I curated a group exhibition about videogame aesthetics. Here are links to publications from various news outlets:

Video games are gradually embraced as contemporary artistic medium, especially known for their interactivity. Uniting a variety of media like music, sound, game and level design, they often feature strong visual aesthetics. While video games are already exhibited in their native interactive form in museums worldwide, their visual aesthetics have only been shown when focussing their production art, or when used as marketing medium. Focussing static still frames of games in the context of gallery exhibitions apparently hasn’t been established.

With Vienna being home to a diverse group of video game studios (from one-person-operations up to a team of hundred people), the HOLLEREI Galerie is pleased to invite you to its upcoming autumn exhibition, “Viennese Video Game Aesthetics” – with exhibitors including Anna Prem, Blood Irony, Broken Rules, Causa Creations, Gold Extra, IMakeGames (Maximilian Csuk), Leafthief (Stefan Srb), Michael Hackl, Mi’pu’mi, Sabine Harrer, Sarah Hiebl, Philipp Seifried, Socialspiel, Josef Who & Broken Rules, Zeppelin Studio.

The show, curated by Christian Bazant-Hegemark, exhibits a selection of still frames from local video game productions, printed in museum quality in small collector’s editions (1 + 3AP). This extends the view on the medium, which usually updates its content 30-60 times per second: detached from its other medial influences, its visual aesthetics are heightened, allowing for specific in-game moments to be viewed statically – as viewers are used from paintings, drawings, etchings or photography.”