loading

Trouble in Paradise – the title of Ernst Lubitsch’s classic movie is a fitting comment on the paintings by Jens Hausmann: the beauty of these elegant, luxurious mansions in the tradition of the Bauhaus and the International Style is undermined by mysterious secrets. Time seems to stand still, no motion anywhere, the scene is deserted. This reminds us of the light-filled forlornness of an Edward Hopper, or Alfred Hitchcock’s suspense. Transparent as these houses are with their glass walls, they do conceal a lot; the entrances and passages are open, to be sure, yet an impression of bunker and defence prevails.

Following the footsteps of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier or Richard Neutra, these mansion are archetypes of modernism, equipped with its pathos formulas: flying roofs and wide terraces with pools, symbolizing domesticated nature; glass walls alternate with closed, block-like masonry. We are presented with the idea of the house as an abstract sculpture. The artificiality of the situation is underlined by works of art that Hausmann inserts here and there. This is the habitat of modern man, of the „new“ human being; sometimes the shadows of the old world he has overcome lurk in the background.

Against these formalized structures, Hausmann sets his way of production. He starts with reworking at the computer the images he found in magazines or on the internet or that he photographed himself; in a second step, in order to get rid of the photography aesthetics, he draws the motifs and transfers them without technical support to the canvas. Finally, the stroke of the brush when applying the oil paint, oftentimes in several layers, gives the paintings their vibrato, lets them breathe.

Some images originate from Brasil, where Hausmann frequently resides; there he experiences modernism’s demand for totality in a pointed way. He observes that the basic democratic idea of modern architecture has been replaced by demonstrations of power, wealth and luxury. An indication for this is the dominant use of concrete, Le Corbusier’s béton brut. The wild and rampant growth of tropical plants is set against man’s intention to impose the world fundamental concepts. So Hausmann’s paintings may be seen as new allegories for the old combat of man vs. nature.

Details like dead trees and demolition or weathering debris, notably, though, the prevailing twilight atmosphere indicate that this arcadia is under threat. Et in Arcadia ego, the baroque motif that sets death in even the most romantic and paradisiac landscape, here gains its contemporary expression. Hausmann’s vedute are, in spite or just because of the perfectly constructed beauty of the villas, allegories of the memento mori, of vanitas; the mirror effect of the extended glass and water surfaces confirms this idea.

Thus Jens Hausmann’s paintings of architecture are reflections on beauty and decay, hopeful utopia and banal reality, belief in progress and skeptical melancholy.

Works

Biography

1964 born in Meiningen (Thuringia)
1994-2000 studied sculpture and painting at the Hochschule für bildende Künste, Dresden
2001 Diploma, Prof. Ralf Kerbach
2004 first residence in Brasil

Jens Hausmann lives in Berlin

Solo shows

2000 “Spirit and Borders”, Galerie Jette Rudolph, Berlin
2001 “Narkose”, Galerie Jette Rudolph, Berlin
2002 “Psychonews”, Spielhaus Morrison Galerie, Berlin
2003 “Zwischenraum”, Galerie Foert Garanin, Berlin
2006 “Himmel, Wasser, Baum, Haus, Mensch”, Galerie Krings-Ernst, Cologne
“Heimkino”, Kunsthalle Vierseithof, Luckenwalde
2007 “Traum von Haus”, Galerie Frederik Foert, Berlin
2008 “Kalt, kalt – heiß, heiß”, Galerie Schuster, Frankfurt, with Isabelle Borges
2009 “Fragile”, Galerie Schuster, Miami
2010 “35 Fragments”, Galerie Schuster, Berlin
2011 “Der unsagbare Raum”, Kunsthaus Meiningen, with Isabelle Borges
“Diktatur”, DSV Kunstkontor Stuttgart
2012 “Blind Windows”, Von Fraunberg Galerie, Düsseldorf
“Minimal”, Galerie Schuster, Potsdam
“Fluchtlinien”, Kunstverein Barsinghausen
2013 “In Serie”, Galerie Alte Schule, Ahrenshoop
2014 “Melancholie – Kubricks House”, Kunstraum Unten, Bochum, with Sven Reile
“Jens Hausmann”, Kunststiftung Rügen, Orangerie Puttbus
“Dschungel”, Kunstverein Centre Bagatelle, Berlin
2015 “Around the House”, smac, Raum für Kunst, Berlin, with Alexej Meschtschanow
“Minimal / Fragments”, Galerie Z, Stuttgart
2016 “Niemandsland”, Kunsthalle Neuwerk, Constance
“Das geheime Zentrum”, Galerie Anja Knoess, Cologne
2017 “Jens Hausmann – Vanessa Henn”, Galerie Eigenheim, Weimar
“Raum und Hülle”, Galerie Agnes Reinthaler, Vienna

For a listing of the group shows, please see the artist’s website.