Kultursommer Wien: two free drawing workshops, for everyone!

This summer I host two free, open-space drawing workshops, sponsored by “Kultursommer Wien /Alsergrund“.

After the first of these events already happened, I want to show you this photo which makes me super happy.

  • On the top you see a basic line tracing of a person;
  • then below, the feet, shows the same person tracing in a different way, with the two drawings having been made only an hour apart of each other.

What a difference! Wow.

My advice is usually the same, and very basic:

  • to trace more consciously,
  • to disregard “seeing objects” in favor of “naming contour/line qualities”,
  • to draw larger (most often the opposite isn’t required)
  • to be more conscious about pencil width vs the drawing’s size

In a 90 minute/2h course where you get to see attendees only once, my main goal is to bring across the joy and meditative benefits/potentials of drawing. The process, not the result.

If you want to join in: this happens on more on July 7th (4pm) at Arne-Karlsson-Park in Vienna!
You don’t need to register, and it’s free!

Trauma: the book

“Trauma” is a 176-page half-linen hardcover book, published on the occasion of my first institutional solo show — at Museum Angerlehner in 2021.

The book includes over sixty images, as well as texts in German and English by Andrea Kopranovic, Jaqueline Scheiber (“minusgold“) and Günther Oberhollenzer. It covers works created since 2006, and also features beautiful exhibition views (by Simon Veres) as well as a portrait photo (by Milena Nowak).

The book has been designed by Mischa Guttmann, who is both a graphics designer and a sculptor; as a result, Mischa “makes objects, not just books”. In this case, a black-in-black hardcover is the base for a gravure-like hot-foil stamping, which embraces the actual book’s contents.

That content is diverse: my art is connected to lyrical fragments, and discussed in three texts. Where the exhibition lets you physically experience many of my works (whether large-scale paintings or more sensual drawings), the book adds additional layers of meaning — and can travel directly into your hands.

“Christian Bazant-Hegemark: Trauma” is published by “Verlag Bibliothek der Provinz“, and costs €30. ISBN 9-783991-260202

You can order it here.

Solo exhibition: Trauma at Museum Angerlehner (Thalheim bei Wels)

“Trauma” is my twentieth solo exhibition since 2010, and marks my first solo exhibition at a museum: at Museum Angerlehner. The show was curated by Günther Oberhollenzer, and runs from May 9th to August 29, 2021.

The exhibition shows works from 2008-2021, focusing on individuals and their trauma recovery. The works cast a wide, dim circle around topics of consciousness: from dream interpretation to psychoanalysis, from individual to social and political dynamics. They repeatedly focus on psychological symptoms of psychotrauma: body dissociation, depersonalization, amnesia, fatigue, compulsions, etc.

Such symptoms cannot be clearly depicted apart from clichés, because they do not offer clear images: the truth of a person is not merely revealed by their surface. Therefore, many of my works appear to be everyday illustrations: someone is sleeping, pottering, planting, fishing; the images do not articulate the reason for these actions, or whether they are done consciously or subconsciously – but they often appear symbolically charged.

The sitter’s introspective gaze indicates an inner communication to which we viewers cannot listen. In this respect, viewers are always excluded from certain aspects and dynamics of the images – like trauma victims, who can be denied clear access to their own bodies, memories, emotions, etc. due to dissociation.

All exhibition photos (c) Simon Veres

About the space..

This exhibition happens in Museum Angerlehner’s two gallery rooms, covering about 400m² (1300ft²). It’s quite a bit of space and opportunity — curating this with Günther Oberhollenzer was both exciting and enlightening.

The two exhibition rooms are idenically spaced, and connected through a sort of “bridge”; when seen from above, they resemble brain hemispheres, or the lobes of a lung — or a butterfly’s wings. These concepts mapped perfectly with the topic of trauma recovery: the way trauma influences (and modifies) the brain; breathing as strategy to calm the autonomic nervous system; the butterfly as symbol for life’s randomness.

The exhibition itself doesn’t highlight these topics explicitly — instead, they co-create an atmosphere which offers emotional opportunities.

“The immediate encounter with works that at first sight do not satisfy any sensationalism, and in many cases do not use the usual visual language of pain, expands the idea that we associate with the rupture. Despite their spatial weight, the works often depict moments far removed from tragedy. It is as if the silence between the lines has been held under a magnifying glass. What becomes visible are not the bold headlines, the hand-wringing cries for help, or even forms of violence.”

Jaqueline Scheiber

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.

Solo exhibition: inseparable, unttld contemporary (Vienna)

I’ll have my first solo at unttld contemporary/Vienna. It’s a new collaboration that only started this year, so I’m super excited about it. 

The show focuses on codependencies, and is centered around a video work on Linda Sharrock and Mario Rechtern (details here): “Linda Sharrock’s 2009 stroke didn’t keep her still long: together with Mario Rechtern and a changing guard of collaborators, she’s been touring incessantly. Bound to her wheelchair, relying on words spoken by others. Beyond the plate, beyond the word.
  • Exhibition Opening: June 27th, 7pm
    Duration: all summer long, free ice cream for those reading this
    Address: Schleifmühlgasse 5

Solo exhibition: Folds, Bildraum 07 (Vienna)

This is a show about abandonment, as witnessed by each of us everyday: in people that grow, in objects that stay — and in the folds and creases left with us along the way.

The series consists of a series of ink drawings, but the show is actually centered around a video work. It’s the first time I’m exhibition a time-based piece, and in this case it’s used to bring together my portrait and interview interests — yet blends them with generative abstraction algorithms. The software I wrote for this has been in use for my drawing practice for a long while now, and was expanded to handle video footage.