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Henri Haake’s paintings are characterized by a certain stillnes and great clarity; his graphic skills are supplemented by a remarkable talent for color. And as clear as his subjects are: of equal importance is what remains unsaid, the gap between individuals and things.

With an alert eye Henri Haake scans the world. He investigates the environment as it is, he frees himself from evaluations. At the same time, he searches for the appropriate motif, the right image. Some of them he finds in papers and magazines, other ones he photographs himself and takes these pictures as starting points for his paintings. His sight is cool and analytical, yet his distance is softened with humor and sympathetic irony.

The motifs might be as banal as a plastic café chair or as exotic as African sceneries. In the center, however, there is always the human individual; even when people are absent, as in the most recent masterpiece, Osu, a beach scene in Ghana – even in this landscape painting man is present by the marks he made. Like a sociologist, Henri Haake searches for the typical, he observes how people walk and stand, captures their ways of expression, their self-presentations.

As in classical art, this coagulates in formalised poses. It can be the stereotypical gesture of a boxer, the image of a pipe smoker, an advertising model or elderly intellectual, the hazy appearances of beach strollers and soccer players, or the typecast attitude of a woman resting or dealing with her beauty. The figures are isolated and introspective, seem to be somewhat lost in their unrelatedness; even the soccer players do not interact but stand alone. The endless movie stops for one, the decisive second, complex activity is condensed to one image. Thus this work is imprinted by a siesta stillness, a day sleep atmosphere – a silence, though, that is full of tales.

The decisive point, however, is not so much reality itself but rather its transformation into art. Henri Haake shows the world in its painterly quality. The question is not whether the world is beautiful, but how it is when it comes along as a picture. It is about the process of painting.

Works

Biography

1989 born in Lübeck
2007-10 took courses at the Atelier Colour Works, Lee Kozlik, Lübeck
2010-16 studied fine arts at the Universität der Künste, Berlin, since 2011 with Robert Lucander
2013 Hunter College, New York , MFA
2015 Knispel Preis for painting and graphics
Diploma at the Universtität der Künste, Berlin
2016 Master Student, Universität der Künste, Berlin

Lives and works in Berlin

exhibitions (selection)

2016 Berlin Masters, A3, Arndt Art Agency, Berlin
Dialog der Residuen, Köppe Contemporary, Berlin (solo, with Jeewi Lee)
Cross Section I, Busche, Berlin
2015 _ndo, Museum Jorge Rando, Malaga, Spain
2014 Transformation, Universität der Künste, Berlin
2013 Hunters MFA Open Studio, New York
Nachschlag, Uferhallen, Berlin
Quer, Universität der Künste, Berlin
2012 Red Smoke, Galerie Manzoni Schäper, Berlin
2011 Berlin – London, Gutshaus Erlenbach, Zurich
Simultaneity, Atelier Colour Works, Essig Fabrik, Lübeck

2011-2016 participated regularly in the Rundgänge of the Universität der Künste, Berlin