$$ik_section$$Content$$Hygiene and taboo have always been very central in Markus Hansen’s work.
He began working with dirt when he was making chromed objects, scatological,
phallic tools that would reflect the users gaze whilst he was using them. He
began to observe the traces left by the passage of time in the dirt in his
studio. At first he would use rubber stamps to make images in the dirt. Then
he began to make stencils of Christ’s loincloth from renaissance paintings,
Durer, Mantegna etc. at the moment of crucifixion that deliberately expose
Christ's genitalia as an affirmation of his kinship with the human
condition. The faint traces of the muted non-material, the dirt, echoed the
restoration to visibility of a subject that had been repressed and censored
for centuries. (cf. Leo Steinberg, The sexuality of Christ in Renaissance
painting and in Modern oblivion)
The image of the curtain dates back to a photograph from the ‘Phantom’
series, a body of photographs taken over ten years in Germany, in his
Grandmother’s house, and in Baden-Baden, the two places where he spent his
early childhood. The curtain fascinated him when he was a small child and he
was convinced hid the family secrets.
Images are revealed on the glass through a combination of his “own dirt”
with silkscreen and varnish. Each piece is unique, done from an original
The piece presented is one descendant of that emblematic serie.
For the artist, the curtain pieces “had come to represent the veil of the
unspoken and the unsaid that had haunted our family since the war”. They
also bear the underlying notion that German culture has been “polluted” by
the Nazi era.
A primary topic for Hansen is his critical thinking about German post war
history and the social, political and emotional implications of the unspoken
traumas passed on from generation to generation. Through the lense of his
upbringing and family background, the work weaves together personal anecdote
and reflections on contemporary society.
They are ‘compromised’ images, where the positive and the negative are
reduced to the same value, where visibility is achieved by the use of a non
There is a sense of disintegration, a floating between the recognizable and
the unrecognizable, the contradiction of a material immateriality. Like the
Durer pillows series or the polluted sky series, they are attempts to
ressucitate, to open up new spaces, and break out of the German historical
Technical description for the making of a picture using my own dirt.
The photographic image is worked and reworked on the computer so as to find
the point of equilibrium between visible and invisible for when the dirt is
finally applied. The reworked image is then transferred to a silkscreen.
The image is printed with transparent ultra-violet proof ink onto glass. At
this point I am working blind, I know more by touching the test prints with
my fingers than by looking at them. Once I have what appears to be a
faultless print, I take dust I have gathered and create a cloud of the
finest particles and let them slowly settle onto the image. I then blow
across the image so as to reveal it. The ink and dust are dried and fixed in
an ultra-violet oven.
Each piece is unique and there is only one edition of each image.
$$ik_section$$Summary$$Drawing of a curtain in my own dirt
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