Gradations of Trauma (2024), text by Catrin M. Hassa

In “GRADATIONS OF TRAUMA“, his second solo exhibition at “gallery twenty-six” (opening on February 10th 2024, 6pm; running from February 12th to March 7th, 2024), Christian Bazant-Hegemark will show over twenty works from the years 2017 to 2022, venturing into border areas of everyday, and everyday trauma.

(text by Catrin M. Hassa)

"There’s nothing that isn’t political, and nothing that isn’t personal."
Ritual, 2022
113 x 200 px

A pixel (an artificial word made up of “picture” and “element”) is the smallest visible element of any digital image.

Over the last 35 years, everything has been done to erase it, to make it invisible, to make it disappear in the ocean of high definition. Nevertheless, the pixel aesthetic seems to exert an unbroken fascination: especially in contemporary art, somewhere between matter and tool, the pixel, “the flesh of the image” (Olivier Huard) is more powerful than ever.  (Since, art-historically, both the square (Malevich, Cubism, …) and additive color mixing (Divisionism, …) have had incredible impact, it is not too far-fetched to assume that some of that artistic legacy might be conserved – or even restored to some extent – by the pixels, even though to some this conclusion might seem highly speculative.)

Budapest, 2017 | manual pixelation by Christian Bazant-Hegemark (Original photo by Zsolt Szigetváry)

The artistic exploration of various computer graphics aesthetics (geometries, vector graphics, glitches – and pixelations) plays a key role in Bazant-Hegemark’s oeuvre. In his PhD thesis (2011-2015) focusing on “Painting and Digital Technologies”, he had already decided to embrace the old-school 80s aesthetics of pixel-based visualities, whereby he sought to expand them into HiBit territory, especially since he is still fascinated by both areas to this day, fluctuating between them.

I can't save you but I can love you., 2020
113 x 200 px (115 x 235 cm)
Original photo and pixelation by Christian Bazant-Hegemark, 2020

Watertown, 2017 | Scratchings on Hahnemühle digital print
35 × 48 cm

Bazant-Hegemark chooses a working size (e.g. 100 x 66 pixels), which sets the stage for the visual abstraction / the pixel size as experienced in the final work. The works exist both virtually and physically; for the latter, they are printed like photographs (on handmade paper, but also on canvas).

For Bazant-Hegemark, this “bringing into the world” of his works is crucial, especially as the effect of the work can be experienced in a potentiated way (precisely because of the pixel size visible in the exhibited work, thus becoming physically tangible). “For me, the one proper benchmark is still physical reality – because for my generation, it so drastically influences a work’s emotionality.

Border areas of everyday, and everyday trauma
Calais (Original photo by unknown)
100 x 66 px
Pixelation by Christian Bazant-Hegemark, 2017

In a small number of the pictures, however, the artist transcended digitality by additionally painting freely in oil on the printed picture, also in order to “to investigate how traditional painting topics operate when referencing the contemporary media world and when they appropriate its formal codes.”

The selection of works exhibited in “GRADATIONS OF TRAUMA” thematically deals with the potential of trauma within political conflicts on the one hand, and with scenes from the private sphere on the other. The translation of horror into pixel aesthetics, especially in the choice of its technical and formal realization (because: where the medium is not the message, it at least determines it), inevitably implies the confrontation of the viewer with the conditions, (im)possibilities and risks of such visual reception. In a way, these works are themselves intermediate figures, making processes of reflection on perceptual patterns and filters, privileges, aestheticizations and ultimately attitudes unavoidable.

Kabul, 2017; oil and manual pixelation on canvas
140 × 180 cm | 55 × 71 in
"[...] to have a voice in a world that feels to not offer most people such a thing"

I started pixelating world events in 2017. It is weird and uncomfortable to do this: who am I to depict things that are not my experience. It feels transgressive, which isn’t my intention. These are political, yet highly personal works. They show what I care about; there’s nothing that isn’t political, and nothing that isn’t personal. In addition, this enables me to have a voice in a world that feels to not offer most people such a thing; I stick to the original colors and composition, but still aim to add a relevant layer of self, with the goal to add meaning — of which I’m not sure whether that’s possible.

Heap and Stone, 2020
150 x 200 px
Original photo and pixelation by Christian Bazant-Hegemark

Gradations of Trauma (Solo Exhibition, gallery twenty-six, Vienna)

Please join me at the opening on “Gradations of Trauma“, my second solo exhibition at Lucian Antoni’s gallery twenty-six.

This exhibition will display a selection of pixel-based works on canvas and paper (2017-2023), venturing into border areas of everyday, and everyday trauma.

  • Where: gallery twenty-six, Schwertgasse 4 (Vienna)
  • When:  Saturday, February 10th, 2024, 6pm
    (Exhibition duration: February 12th to March 7th, 2024)

Private Mythologies (group, gallery twenty-six)

My work is part of the “Private Mythologies” group show at gallery twenty-six, together with works by Alice Ella, Beáta Hechtová, and Kryštof Strejc:

“Representations of animals have always held a special place in secular iconography and its sacred counterpart, analogous to the cultural-historical relevance of the relationship between humans and animals; they have been charged with enormous, often ambivalent, symbolic meaning and, perhaps for this very reason, continue to mesmerise us today.”

Triumph, 2014 | oil on canvas
200 × 300 cm

Works at [FKc] Forum Kunst Contemporary, June 2023

My work is currently exhibited at Forum Kunst Contemporary (situated at beautiful Stift Millstatt, which is right at Lake Millstatt <3), in an untitled group exhibition alongside Deborah Sengl’s solo show “Trouble in Paradise”.

The works are exhibited until June 24th; opening times Wednesday-Saturday, 3-6pm.

Drop by!

[FKc] Forum Kunst Contemporary, exhibition view with works by Christian Bazant-Hegemark
Law of Regression, 2023 | oil on canvas
180 × 240 cm

Digitalog (Group), HOLON.art, Wels

Two of my manual pixelations, printed onto canvas, will be exhibited at HOLON.art‘s “Digitalog: Digital und Analog im Dialog” exhibition. It’s the first time these sort of works will be exhibited; I’ve created a lot of pixel-based digital works over the last couple years, and started bringing them into the analog world. But they haven’t yet been shown outside of my studio. Thanks to Bianca Kiso for trusting these works <3

The exhibition also shows works of Ignas van Rijckevorsel, Chris Murzek, Bianca Kiso and Denisa Osacenco. Plus: the opening evening also marks the space’s second birthday — let’s meet there to discuss art and life 🙂

  • Opening on Friday, May 12th (6:30pm) — I’ll be there; dresscode: futuristic or vintage 🤩
  • Exhibition duration: May 13th – June 16th, 2023
  • Opening times: Thursday and Friday, 2-6pm
Holon Art Space, Wels
Calm, 2022
200 x 150 px
Bad Growth, 2022
200 x 113 px

Some photos from the opening..

Kunst im Kabinett: Christian Bazant-Hegemark, Galerie Schloss Parz

A selection of my drawings and paintings will be exhibited in the drawing room (“Kabinett”) of Galerie Schloss Parz, alongside an exhibition of Alois Riedl and Franz Josef Altenburgdetails here.

  • Opening on May 11th, 7pm (I’ll be there), with a speech by Günther Oberhollenzer,
  • Exhibition duration: May 12th – July 9th, 2023
Galerie Schloss Parz
Works by Christian Bazant-Hegemark at Galerie Schloss Parz (2023)

Some photos from the opening, made by BRS/Haslberger:

Announcing “Substanz”, Künstlerhaus Wien, 2024

I will curate one of the three main exhibitions at Künstlerhaus Wien, in 2024 — together with Esther Mlenek.

“Substanz” will be a show about artists whose focus isn’t “limited” by the boundaries of their artistic practice, but who let their passion run their lives, even way outside of the studio.

Thanks to Günther Oberhollenzer (Wikipedia) for asking and trusting me in the first palce. Thanks to Esther for supporting the vision wholeheartedly. Thanks to the Künstlerhaus board for believing in this (context: the Künstlerhaus Vereinigung is an artist’s society originally founded in the 1840’s, and is currently led artistically by Günther Oberhollenzer).

Künstlerhaus Wien
(c) C.Stadler/Bwag - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=91605318

Exhibition duration: October 19th, 2024 – February 9th, 2025
Curator: Christian Bazant-Hegemark
Co-Curator: Esther Mlenek

Die Ausstellung SUBSTANZ handelt von Menschen, die ihre Themen nicht nur in ihrer Kunst verarbeiten, sondern diesbezüglich auch in gesellschaftliches Handeln gehen. Sie bilden beispielsweise Communities, Netzwerke und Räume, gehen einem erweiterten Kunstvermittlungsbegriff nach und loten die Möglichkeiten der Schnittstellen zwischen – und jenseits von – Kunst und Aktivismus aus. Den Ausstellenden gemein ist, dass sie unsere Gesellschaft über die eigene künstlerische Praxis hinaus beeinflussen. Denn Kunst und Gesellschaft sind eng und zirkulär verbunden: Kunst entsteht aus der Auseinandersetzung mit einer Welt, die durch Kunst beeinflusst wird.

Günther Oberhollenzer announcing the 2024 program at a press conference at Künstlerhaus, April 2023 (c) Alexandra Gamrot
Press Conference Künstlerhaus, April 2023 (c) Alexandra Gamrot

Freiluft Kunst (Group Exhibition, Vienna)

This April 2023, my work gets shown in public places throughout Vienna, alongside the work of artists Stella Bach, Bettina Beranek, Sissa Micheli, Thomas Riess and Stylianos Schicho.

You get to see the pieces in various LCD displays that are usually used for advertisement purposes. There are tours through the city, to let you explore all displays.

All details on the project’s website, plus an audio guide about my work on this page.

Thanks to Infinity Media’s Nico Schluga, as well as Künstlerhaus’ Knut Neumayer and Günther Oberhollenzer for conceptualizing and organizing this project!

Illusion – Delusion (group), Forum Kunst Contemporary, Millstatt

My work gets exhibited once more at Forum Kunst Contemporary, in group show called “Illusion – Delusion“, curated by Andrea K. Schlehwein. The exhibition includes works by Vadim Fishkin, Georg Planer, Annamaria Kowalsky, Tim van den Oudenhoven, Josef Winkler and me.

  • Opening on March 5th, 2023 (11am), including the dance performance “EMBRACE FALLING” (Andrea K. Schlehwein + NETZWERK AKS; Maria Mavridou)
  • The exhibition runs until April 15th, 2023
  • Opening hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 3pm – 6pm

I’ll be at the opening — join me there! <3

All exhibition views below (c) Tim van den Oudenhoven

Zeit und Zuschauer, Bulgarisches Kulturinstitut, Vienna

Kunstverein “DerMeteor” is organizing this group exhibition at the Bulgarian Cultural Institute, at Haus Wittgenstein (Vienna). The show is curated by Josef Pauschenwein and includes works of Michael Csokay, Datim Dimiter Dimov, Ivan Dobromir, Josef Pauschenwein, Stefan Petrunov — and yours truly.

Opening on January 8th, 2023 (6:30pm), ending on February 15th, 2023.

 

From the curatorial statement:

ZEIT und ZUSCHAUER
DIE ZEIT … sie gilt uns gemeinsam mit dem Raum als Bedingung für die Möglichkeit unserer Erfahrungen. Sie selbst ist ohne Qualität, daher kann man sie auch nicht fassen. Es sind lineare, von der Vergangenheit zur Zukunft hin ablaufende Geschehnisse, die wir wahrnehmen. Bewegung ist das eigentliche Erkennungsmerkmal der Zeit. Die Zeit zum Thema zu machen heißt, sie dreifach zu befragen: nach dem, was war – weit über unsere Erinnerungen hinaus; nachdem, was wir planend erhoffen oder spekulativ erwarten dürfen; nach dem, was Natur und Geschichte aus uns gemacht haben und was uns zur Aufgabe wird im Jetzt.

DER ZUSCHAUER … er ist der, der den Abstand sucht zur Dynamik aktueller Ereignisse. Er hält sich heraus und schätzt den Platz mit dem besten Überblick in vorderster Reihe. Oder er duckt sich weg in einen dunklen Winkel, von wo aus er unbemerkt und verstohlen seine voyeuristische Leidenschaft pflegt. Es gibt aber auch die, die sich abwenden – in Bestürzung, Verzweiflung, aus Ekel oder einfach als Flucht. Jede Reaktion des Zuschauers, selbst noch die Teilnahmslosigkeit, hat Wirkung im Fluss der Ereignisse.

DIE KÜNSTLER … sie wissen um ihre Doppelrolle als Zuschauer und Akteure. Der scharfe Blick, die konzentrierte Aufmerksamkeit, die ästhetische Wahrnehmung – sie sind Ausgangspunkte künstlerischer Praxis. Diese erst befähigen sie, zu Gestaltern der Erfahrungen der Zeit zu werden. Im Focus steht zuerst die Gegenwart. Zum einen, weil sich in ihr die Linien von  Vergangenheit und Zukunft kreuzen, zum andern, weil sich aktuelle Ereignisse besonders aufdrängen. Die Werkgestaltung ist dann die Suche der je eigenen Position zu Fragen der Zeit. Die Werke selbst werden Teil des zeitlichen Geschehens, … wenn, ja wenn es die Zuschauer gibt, die sie wahrnehmen, die sich mit ihnen intellektuell auseinandersetzen und/oder emotional bewegen lassen.

Kurator J. Pauschenwein

Kunst. Leben. Leidenschaft. (October 16th, 2022, Museum Angerlehner, Thalheim bei Wels)

My works are part of this major group exhibition, celebrating the ten year anniversary of Museum Angerlehner — curated by Günther Oberhollenzer:

Das privat geführte Museum Angerlehner gehört zu den wichtigen Orten für zeitgenössische Kunst in Österreich. Die Sammlungsschau zum zehnjährigen Bestehen des Museums ermöglicht einen vertiefenden wie überraschenden Einblick in die vielfältigen Bestände österreichischer wie auch internationaler Kunst. Rund 200 Werke von 125 Künstler:innen sind in der großen Ausstellungshalle sowie den Galerie- und Grafikräumen zu sehen.”

Der Kunstleidenschaft des Privatsammlers Heinz Josef Angerlehner, seinem Gespür, seinen persönlichen Vorlieben und Interessen wird in der Schau bewusst Rechnung getragen. Die von Kurator Günther Oberhollenzer gestaltete Ausstellung streicht die Besonderheiten der Sammlung Angerlehner heraus und ermöglicht interessante wie ungewöhnliche Dialoge zwischen den Kunstwerken – oft auch über eingeübte kunsthistorische Einordnungen hinweg. Individuelle Sichtweisen und persönliche Vorlieben werden selbstbewusst vorgestellt. Thematische Klammern widmen sich relevanten Aspekten der Malerei wie Menschenbild und Naturlandschaft, Farbrausch und Abstraktion. Zu sehen sind aber auch fotografische Wirklichkeiten, zeichnerische Bildwelten und skulpturale Positionen. Die Werkauswahl vermittelt in ihrer assoziativen Zusammenstellung viel vom einmaligen Charakter der Sammlung und lässt die Besucher:innen in wunderbare künstlerische Welten eintauchen.

 

Here’s a video where Günther Oberhollenzer and Yours Truly talk a bit about the show 🙂

Die Zeit danach (October 1st, 2022, Alfred Adler Center International, Vienna)

My work gets exhibited within a solo exhibition at the Alfred Adler Center International in Vienna, which is part of the “Österreichischer Verein für Individualpsychologie”. The show happens within the framework of this year’s “Lange Nacht der Museen” — a night where a whole lot of museums stay open for the public, to be visited with a single ticket.

This exhibition continues my focus on trauma recovery, on “the time after” traumatic events happened.  I am very thankful to have been asked to collaborate and to be able to exhibit there: the institute’s focus on trauma recovery includes their project “Die Boje“, a crisis intervention center for children and teenagers.

On the opening evening (October 1st, 8pm) there’ll be a conversation between Alexa Weber, Ilonka Schwarzenfeld (two psychotherapists and psychoanalysts) and me.

Details here.

Muted Rainbow (September 22nd, 2022, gallery twenty-six, Vienna)

“Muted Rainbow” is my upcoming solo exhibition at gallery twenty-six/Vienna. It shows paintings and drawings that blend everyday moments with dream states, dissociations, and various emotive and sub-emotive conditions.

About the exhibition

The title blends two topics: In nature, rainbows refer to “phenomena caused by refractions of the sun’s light by rain or water droplets“; in everyday life, the word is used for a wide range of related, typically colorful things. Rainbows stand for hopes and promises, diversity and peace. Muted colors on the other hand are those with low saturation; they are created by adding black, white, or complementary colors to whichever base pigment is used. Muted colors are dull, desatured, a tad bit grey.

In the context of the exhibition, the term refers to the undiscovered, as well as the un- or underdeveloped: without contact to the world, it’s difficult to experience oneself as joyful or alive; one rather remains hidden, insecure and needy. These situations frequently lead to strategies of control, in order to establish safety when interacting with the world. Yet control also deadens the lively and joyful, instead of simply strengthening them; the urge for balance between these opposing desires (for control as well as liveliness) thus marks the life of many people. An alternative to control would be trust, which in turn requires courage.

How would a life be like that operates in courage and liveliness, that’s self- and world-confident? A life beyond the Muted Rainbow?

Dates

Please consider the following dates:

  • Exhibition opening: Thursday, September 22nd, 2022, 7-10pm, with opening words by Esther Mlenek
  • Concert: Soirée de chansons: Remy Mytteis plays in the exhibition
    Saturday, September 24th, 7:30pm
  • Artist Tour: I walk you through the exhibition 🙂
    Thursday, October 6th, 7-10pm
  • Finissage: we’ll have a fancy closing event
    Thursday, October 20th, 7-10pm

At gallery twenty-six, Schwertgasse 4, 1010 Wien/Vienna

2nd creation – artificial intelligence (July 8th, 2022, Vijion Art Gallery, Bolzano)

My work is part of a group show on artificial intelligence, at Vijion Art Gallery in Bolzano/South Tyrol.
From the press release:

Die Gruppenausstellung zum Thema „2° creation-artificial intelligence“, möchte die Künstliche Intelligenz-Automatisierung im Diskurs bringen, die unsere Welt verändert wie einst der elektrische Storm.

Künstliche Intelligenz ist die nächste Stufe der Automatisierung. Sie erleichtert die Buchhaltung, rechnet im Auftrag des Menschen oder verarbeiten Texte und übernimmt Fähigkeiten und Kompetenzen, die den Menschen übertreffen. Doch mit Künstlicher Intelligenz treffen jetzt Maschinen komplexe Entscheidungen, die bisher nur Menschen treffen konnten. Wenn Datengrundlagen und Entscheidungsrahmen stimmen, entscheidet KI-Systeme besser, schneller und billiger.

The show happens between July 9th to August 6th 2022, and includes the works of Mirijam Heiler, Valeria Stuflesser, Lena Geiser, Josefa Schundau/Kira Krüger, Marlies Baumgartner, AliPaloma, Simon Perathoner, Harald Plattner, Manuel van der Veen, Maximilian Willeit/Manuel Resch, Peter Senoner, Hannes Egger, Tino-Roberto Bors and yours truly.

Shifted Realities (May 14th, Galerie Heimo Bachlechner, Graz)

My work is part of the group exhibition “Shifted Realities” at Galerie Heimo Bachlechner (Graz), next to the works of Christine Liebich and Sissa Micheli.

The show focuses concepts of reality, and how artists deal with it, and shift it — within drawing painting, sculpture and photography; between abstraction and figuration, reality and virtuality, displacement and fiction, etc.

It opens on Saturday, May 14th (3pm), with an opening speech by Roman Grabner (curator and director of Bruseum). It is part of the “aktuelle kunst Galerientage Graz” exhibition program.

  • Opening: Saturday, May 14th, 2022 (3pm)
  • Address: Liebenauer Hauptstraße 322, 8041 Graz
  • The show can be seen until June 18th, 2022.

Group Exhibition: “ART IS. 25 years of Kunst Meran / Merano Arte”

Around twenty of my works are part of the huge “Art Is” exhibition, which marks the 20th anniversary of Kunst Meran.

The exhibtion happens from July 17th to October, 2021

Participating Artist:
Claudia Barcheri, Christian Bazant-Hegemark, Hannes Egger, Barbara Gamper, Vanessa Hanni, Maria CM Hilber, Emilian Hinteregger, Erika Hock, Zora Kreuzer, Oliver Laric, Roberta Lima, Rosmarie Lukasser, Selene Magnolia, Eva Mair, Simone Salvatore Melis, Ludovic Nkoth, Bernd Oppl, Quayola, Rita Slodičk, Ludwig Thalheimer, Maria Walcher, Letizia Werth
Curators: Valerio Dehò, Luigi Fassi, Sabine Gamper, Andreas Kofler, Günther Oberhollenzer, Magdalene Schmidt, Anne Schloen, Susanne Waiz

“Kunst Meran – a private association for the arts, founded 25 years ago and active as a municipal arthouse under the Meran arcades for 20 years now – has, for this anniversary, invited eight curators to examine the role of art in the present day. These curators have worked with Kunst Meran over the past 25 years, and all have now enthusiastically signed up to the concept of a chorale exhibition for the anniversary.”

 
Read more here.

Here’s curator Günther Oberhollenzer discussing the exhibited works:

Group Exhibition: “(K)ein Mensch ist eine Insel”, Künstlerhaus Wien

Three works of my “Waiting” series (2019) were included in a huge member exhibition at Künstlerhaus Wien, Austria’s oldest member-run “Kunstverein”. The exhibition is curated by Günther Oberhollenzer and Larissa Agel: here’s detailled information.

The exhibition happens from May 1st to August 29th, 2021.

 

Participating artists:
Katharina Acht, Anke Armandi, Stella Bach, Nora Bachel, Christian Bazant-Hegemark, Isabel Belherdis, Fritz Bergler, Barbara Bernsteiner, Martin Bruch, Pablo Chiereghin, Linda Christanell, Alessio Coloni, Asta Cink, Rudi Cotroneo, Peter Dworak, Gernot Fischer-Kondratovitch, Alfred Graf, Robert Hammerstiel, Maria Hanl, Matthias Klos, Nikolaus Korab, Matthias Lautner, Barbara Luisi, Sissa Micheli, Margot Pilz, Michaela Putz, Reiner Riedler, Thomas Riess, Rosa Roedelius, Stylianos Schicho, Michaela Schwarz-Weismann, Marielis Seyler, Evelin Stermitz, Kurt Spitaler, Egon Straszer, Walter Strobl, Judith Wagner, Elisabeth Wedenig, Josef Weichenberger, Heliane Wiesauer-Reiterer, Laurent Ziegler, Greta Znojemsky

Wie kann sich eine Kunstausstellung einem so einschneidenden Ereignis wie der Corona-Pandemie annähern? Wie wird in der Kunst darüber reflektiert, darauf reagiert? Jenseits des tagespolitischen Geschehens versucht (K)EIN MENSCH IST EINE INSEL grundsätzliche Fragestellungen des menschlichen Zusammenlebens in den Mittelpunkt zu stellen, die durch Corona verstärkt in den Fokus rücken oder auch neu verhandelt werden: die Rolle der Gesellschaft und des einzelnen Individuums, der soziale Rückzug und die Selbstreflexion, die Einsamkeit und Vereinsamung, das sich Verhüllen und Maskieren… all das sind Themen, die Künstler*innen immer wieder reflektiert und in Werken behandelt haben. In Zeiten von „Social“ bzw. „Physical Distancing“ haben diese an Aktualität gewonnen.

Die Ausstellung erzählt von Gemeinschaft und Isolation in der zeitgenössischen Kunst und zeigt Arbeiten von Künstler*innen, deren Entstehung bisweilen Jahre zurückliegt, deren Motive und Sujets aber gegenwärtiger denn je sind. Es überrascht, wie stark die Eindrücke und Erlebnisse des letzten Jahres unseren Blick konditionieren und die Kunstwerke eine neue Beachtung erlangen, eine neue Lesart erfahren. Dem gegenüber stehen aktuelle Arbeiten, die unter dem Eindruck der letzten Monate entstanden sind.

(K)EIN MENSCH IST EINE INSEL ist die erste große Mitgliederausstellung seit den 1990er Jahren. Sie veranschaulicht das kreative Potenzial aber auch die Diversität und Pluralität der Künstler*innen des Künstlerhausvereins. 

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

Here is a short reel showing a walk through the exhibition (Instagram).

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
“Trauma”

Salon #1, Untitled Projects (2021)

SALON#1 at Untitled Projects shows new works by Christian Bazant-Hegemark, through which he further consolidates his figurative approach. Digital glitches and errors in image editing are fundamental in the conception of the presented pencil drawings and oil paintings. The series includes portraits and interrogations of political situations through which Bazant-Hegemark enhances his involvement with people’s trauma processing.

The displayed works do not depict trauma as such, as it is not physically visible for the viewer, but can rather be experienced on an emotional level. The artist thematizes and reflects on the dynamic of traumatized people, who often lack knowledge about their own condition for a long period of time. The works recurringly focus on the psychological symptoms of traumatized people: body dissociation, depersonalisation, amnesia, fatigue and psychological coercions. These symptoms are, apart from clichés, not directly depictable as they do not offer clear images: one’s emotional situation does not show on his surface only.

Consequently, the exhibited works – detached from everything else – seem like everyday sceneries illustrated: people sleeping, pottering, gardening, glancing; the works do not articulate the reason for these actions. The introspective look of the persons depicted refers to an internal communication, which we as spectators can never be a part of. It is not intended for us. In this sense we as the observer are always excluded from certain aspects and dynamics of an image – like trauma victims, who may lack a clear approach to their own body, recognitions, emotions etc. as a consequence of dissociations.

“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. 🙏

“Fame/Fake/Fail and Fear – Schwarze Melange” at Kunsthalle Exnergasse

“Fame/Fake/Fail and Fear – Schwarze Melange” was a group exhibition curated by Eleni Kampuridis, which was shown at Kunsthalle Exnergasse and at Kunstraum “Die Schöne”. It included two works from my 2017 series that transformed political horrors with a transmedial pixelation/painting process.

The artists participating in the exhibition investigate, document, expose, and analyse the effects of language and image as a foundation of fine arts and PR based on the example of the 2017 Austrian election campaigns. Thanks to an ingenious PR strategy, then-chancellor candidate Sebastian Kurz could create a mood swing without any political urgency. In 2000 Christoph Schlingensief caused a stir in the framework of the Wiener Festwochen with his container action »Bitte liebt Österreich (Please Love Austria)«. A perfect staging of image and language can unleash emotions, which can be utilised either for political, marketing strategy, or artistic purposes. Hence, this exhibition is also a call to critically question information, to verify its substance, and to apply marketing tools with an apparent positive image effect more consciously—also in the field of fine arts.

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.

Solo exhibition: Kindness of Strangers, Galerie Voss (Düsseldorf)

“Kindness of Strangers” was my fourth solo exhibition at Galerie Voss. It opened on June 7th 2019.

The exhibition features works created after I finished my second series of psychotherapy sessions. The pieces have the wide-ranging, meandering ambiguities known from my previous work — which are also uniquely known to those trying to interpret dreams, Freudian slips or other co-conscious actions. The exhibited paintings aim to emulate rather than depict such subconscious plots: throughout the last years, I continuously suggested psychoanalytical, and thus highly individualized readings of my works. With paintings being inherently post- and preverbal, they seemed a perfect medium for a series on ambiguities and personal interpretations.

The exhibited works repeat and permute a small set of symbols: leaves, origami objects, upside-down figures, closed eyes, roots – with verbal languages offering obvious clues to their potential meanings. The exhibition title refers to the idea of strangers: those encountered in the world, as well as those found within each of us – and the benevolence of human subconsciouses, towards each other and ourselves.

  • Exhibition Opening: June 7th, 7-9:30pm
    Duration: June 8th – July 13th
    Address: Mühlengasse 3, Düsseldorf

Thomas Wolfgang Kuhn wrote a text about the exhibition, which you can read here.

‘[…] Christian Bazant-Hegemark’s art is a plea for active engagement that also makes the “laissez faire” apparent. Perhaps the fusion of the digital and the analogue is a hybrid, just like the combination of external reality and inner vision, although here it appears to be fruitful and fearless.’

“Considering the Circular Topology of Clouds” at Hollerei Galerie (2017)

This was my first solo exhibition at Hollerei Galerie (Vienna). The works depicted heavy political and societal events, to investigate how traditional painting topics operate when referencing the contemporary world of media –, and when they appropriate its formal codes.

Being unsatisfied with the possibilities of digital image editing, Bazant-Hegemark developed his own image abstraction software (enabling unusual fragmentarizations and transformations, and the calculation of a virtual third dimension from 2d images). The results are an integral part of his current image conception. Apart from these algorithmic image modifications, Bazant-Hegemark started to digitize images manually (“pixeling”), strongly referencing 1990s video game aesthetics, and resulting in the works’ surreal spin.

The exhibition focuses on works that transform iconic contemporary images in this multifold way (oftentimes depictions of suffering, morally “authorized” by media awards): photojournalistic sources get pixeled manually, abstracted algorithmically, edited in standard image editing software, printed on fabric and opened up to a traditional oil painting process. This way, the final images flirt with the surface’s alleged beauty; they are aestehtically charged, which quickly becomes unbearable considering the works’ actual depictions.

In this series, Bazant-Hegemark operates in an expanded contemporary painting mode, caring about understanding the capacity of visual media to depict and express. Today’s post-factual media lost its authenticity – having exchanged it with self-referential journalistic networks, for which images only matters as surface: as effect and commodity. There is no more relying on an image’s accuracy: in media, reality and fiction lost their distance. As a result, contemporary mimetic painting is in an unkown situation: it can create, simulate and appropriate, but can only imagine actual authenticity in depicting things happen outside of painting.

“The Rise and Fall of Transformative Hopes and Expectations” at Galerie Voss (2016)

I wrote the following to document my thoughts about this work series:

My work generally blends traditional figuration with an abstraction that time and again references computer graphic stereotypes: theatrical scenes populated with interpersonal agendas, focusing a loose triple dynamic of identities, places and actions – with uncertainty being their potentially distinctive, uniting feature. To strengthen their political subtextual leanings, some pieces reference highly specific contemporary documentary photography (e.g. Uncertainty Principle depicting Lamon Reccord, or The Drizzle depicting Sergey Ponomarev’s award-winning refugee photo). The paintings care to reflect our human conditions’ ambiguities, and can be understood as fragmentary statements towards an infinite, holistic, multi-narrativistic rhizome: offering views on society and culture in general, and the layers upon layers of individual fears and hopes discoverable within.

By touching the transient nature of topics like identity, gender, memory, emotion, motivation, etc., the works focus the ever-changing undercurrents of societal contracts, as well as the vast spaces in between those clearly defined hegemonic states. Transformation, transition, transference, transgression: How does painting (for entities living within the specifics of legislature) relate to the humanistic experiences of societies based on limitations and freedoms? How do individuals operate when finding themselves in situations beyond clearly understandable dynamics of cause and effect? What consequences emerge for western minds, whose identifying agendas (studying, remembering, producing) are gradually taken over by monotheistic algorithms? The presented works are the result of a process investigating the creation of paintings; sidestepping didactics, aiming for a specific emotionality to facilitate a state defined by an equilibrium of emotion and intellect: painting as emotionally coherent space.

Ultimately, this reflects my interest in ontological, media-based inquiries regarding the state of figurative painting within postmodern canons: the state of mimetic painting strategies in general, and more specifically regarding its post-symbolist use in mapping indefinable, infinite characteristics; how a “poetics of paint” influences its mapping abilities; how painting can be made a proper tool to discuss politics and societies, when its native ability seems so much more suitable to documenting its own phenomena (drippings, flowing, splashes etc. – the physical attributes of oil paint); how abstraction is modified when the aforementioned phenomena are augmented by highly detailed figuration, or other narrative mechanics: These physical attributes make painting seem uniquely suitable to map volatile, ambiguous and indefinable characteristics.

 

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.”

Vow of Silence, Solo Exhibition at Galerie Voss (Düsseldorf)

The works of the Austrian artist Christian Bazant-Hegemark deal with the combination of narrative painting and abstraction.

The paradoxical balance of presence and absence, of formulation and creation and of suggestion and meaning is present in all his works. The artist creates an attractive strife. It is challenging to interpret his work, because the viewer is often confused by the change of surface perception. The interplay between the figurative and the abstract may not be limited to one interpretation. Like the work “Your Thick Elephantine Yet So Delicately penetrable Skin” (2011), depicting a girl on a swing. The swing is fitted with a geometrically patterned background and is therefore connected with a surreal element.

Thus the fragmentary starts a communication with the narrative points and a complex dialogue develops. Nothing will be spoken. The figuration monopoly must not oppose the ideas of abstraction. The picture elements appear in fragmentary moments, which can avoid the provability of possible interpretations because they have nothing to prove. The images remain in an uncertain familiarity that seems to have no place. The composition occurs here as a measuring system, pushing whether neither the appropriateness of narrative nor the indulgence of abstraction in the foreground. What we encounter in the works of Christian Bazant-Hegemark, is the floating posture of the fragmentary: the vacuum of groundlessness.

(Link)