Christian Bazant - Hegemark / The Rise and Fall of Transformative Hopes and Expectations Nov 11, 2016 - Jan 21, 2017
Christian Bazant-Hegemark (*1978) is an Austrian painter working in the tradition of historical painting. His works reflect contemporary yet timeless societal topics, in which he focuses on the distinctly individual.
In his solo show “The Rise and Fall of Transformative Hopes and Expectations” , he mostly shows medium formats focusing interpersonal ambiguities. Using a mostly exuberant choice of colors and figurative ciphers, which are blended with abstractions and a variety of shiftings, the works offer a unique tension. Bazant-Hegemark examines the mapping and expression capacities of figurative painting, especially interested in the ambiguities of socio-political processes. His figuration often blends traditional techniques with abstract computer graphic stereotypes; within these, he shows theatrical scenes populated with interpersonal agendas, where unidentifiable individuals operate in uncertainty.
The appropriation of contemporary documentary photography strengthens the work’s political subtext, which Bazant-Hegemark implements in narrative, poetic ways. This allows him to process multilayered topics like refugee crises, the “Black Lives Matter” protests, transsexuality, etc. The exhibition includes two recent large-scale paintings: “White Noise” (2016, 250 x 360 cm, oil on canvas), and “The Drizzle” (2016, 250 x 180 cm, oil on canvas). The prior shows a pool of people rebelling against a dumbfounded, monarchical elephant, the latter appropriates a Pulitzer prize-winning photography by Sergey Ponomarev, processing the refugee crisis. Bazant-Hegemark’s political interest can be seen especially in these large-scale works, blending pathos with absurdity; yet it’s also apparent in the shows’ smaller pieces, which show individual, personal situations of transformation and transgression. It’s especially his large-scale paintings that act as contemporary historical paintings, highlighting the individualistic in the societal, and the societal in the individualistic.
Bazant-Hegemark’s paintings reflect the human conditions’ ambiguities, offering views on society and culture in general, and the many individual layers discoverable within. According to Bazant-Hegemark, these transient, ever-changing societal currents can be expressed very directly in painting; hegemonic conditions like identity, gender, nationality, as well as more private topics like memory, emotion, intention, etc. appear frequently in his works. The exhibited works are the result of a painting process favoring a specific emotionality, originating in an equilibrium of emotion and intellect: painting as “emotionally coherent” space.
The works presented at Galerie Voss show Bazant-Hegemark’s 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 characteristics. The question seems to which extent a “poetics of paint” influences its mapping abilities, and how contemporary painting can be made a 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 paint). How does abstraction operate when the aforementioned phenomena are augmented by highly detailed figuration, or other narrative mechanics? It’s these physical attributes that make painting seem uniquely suitable to map volatile, ambiguous and indefinable characteristics.
Bazant-Hegemark lives and works in Vienna.
On the occasion of the exhibition, a catalog with texts by David Zeller and Siolo Thompson is published.