T E H E R A N   2017

M A R J A N   H A B I B I A N  & W A L T E R   K R A T N E R

D A Y D R E A M S   2

Azad Art Gallery, Teheran

In an exhibition entitled “Daydreams 2” the Iranian born artist Marjan Habibian and the Austrian based artist Walter Kratner present a selection of their works. The show is an interplay between drawings, overpainted historical photos and installation.

 “CLEAN HANDS” (site specific installation, ca. 100 pink gloves, 2016)

 “HOFFMANN” ( All: varnish on charcoal and seed and brown pastel colors on photo-print on canovas; dim.: ca. 30 x 40 cm, 2016)


Both works are about „The Order / Gestures / Distant Nearness”.

The works on paper „hoffmann“ (2016) are based on photographs taken by Heinrich Hoffmann in 1927. The historical Photographs reveal how Adolf Hitler rehearsed poses and hand gestures for his public speeches. He asked Hoffmann to take these shots so he could see what he would look like to his audience, then used them to help shape his performances, which he was constantly refining. Hitler asked that the photographs be destroyed, a request which Hoffmann did not honor.


Walter Kratner overpainted these historical photographs. Overpainted with dark brown and black colors the photographs gathers this body of work, which unites the labor of the hand with the work of mechanical reproduction to produce a kind of art, neutralizing the unbearable intention of the medium to reach an indifference to their potency. Walter Kratner painted directly onto small-format photographic prints. What emerges are strange hybrid works, without contrasts. The most noticeable effect is that the dark colored swaths of charcoal and soot conceal parts of the underlying photograph, leading the viewer to struggle to fill in the pieces of the figurative story, creating a sense of mystery or unknown. Walter Kratners dark variations of the outcomes are speaking about disappearing of individual and collective memory in Europe. (What is not visible will be forgotten.)


But in a certain way the work on paper of “hoffmann“ give the spectators the possibility to reflect about contemporary poses or the fashion styling of contemporary politicians in the television.


In the show in Teheran, Walter Kratner juxtapose to the work “hoffmann“, which is showing on the wall of the Azad Art Gallery, an installation-field on the floor. The work “clean hands” (2016), a field of pink gloves collocated between the columns in the exhibition space to fill the centre of the gallery, forms a kind of prelude to a body of works with overpainted dark photos.

Walter Kratners work extends the possibilities beyond traditional materials and methods of art. He juxtaposes the tranquil and ironic character of pink gloves with the complex reality of his work “hoffmann” no longer describable by means of simple explanatory models.