In his new exhibition at The Ravestijn Gallery, Koen Hauser (b.1972, the Netherlands) presents an eclectic collection of photographs featurng an array of objects and sculptures, many of them existing only in his imagination before they are materialised through the help of digital technologies.
In the words of author Merel Bem, “Koen Hauser never starts from the idea that a photo should represent reality in a direct way. As a photographer with a deeply rooted urge to create, he is therefore determined to (be able to) put reality into his own hands where photographic material is as plastic as wax and can be molded into every imaginable shape.”
Hauser’s work nearly always originates in historical books; from the colours that pervade through bygone publications to the expressive design language and the materiality of photographic reproductions found within. In Skulptura, he introduces sculptural artifacts of disparate origin, processing them with a diverse assortment of approaches and working methods. Importantly, Hauser does not rely on digital rendering alone to conjure up these motifs but also, at times, involves himself in the physical craft of making such pieces with clay. Other photographs derive from the photographs of objects from art history - with their museum like backdrops and in their original reproduction quality - he transforms them into newly envisioned images with the aid of photoshop.
Indeed, within his own process, Hauser very much acts as a magician, forming new connections, interactions and cross-fertilising various styles and forms from the world of sculpture, photography and fashion, whilst at the same time appealing to notions from mythology, animism and spirituality. All of these divergent methods, references and hybrid manifestations blend seamlessly together and can be interpreted as an anthology from Hauser’s wonderful world of biomorphe form language. The addition of source material in the form of clippings from old books that are displayed within this exhibition also fits his ways of thinking. As a result, not only sources of inspiration, but the origin or indebtedness of a visual idiom can be derived; paraphrasing a famous photo of Avedon and using three-dimensional scans of objects from, among others, the collections of the municipal museum The Hague and the Centraal Museum, including couture by Viktor and Rolf and Vivienne Westwood. In his works he also uses archives from the likes of Museum Boymans van Beuningen and Spaarnestad Photo.
The statuette images in Skulptura evoke on the one hand the desire for spatial experience; of the ability to touch and feel yet the impossibility of this - inherent in the medium of photography - gives the images their sometimes uncomfortable, even oppressive charge. In this sense, Skulptura represents a sculptural dream world that is locked up in the second dimension.