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Hanjo Schmidt
About this artwork
the wall
acrylics on canvas
h.100cm w.120cm d.0cm
Jan 2007

Hanjo's Description: from the Woyzeck series

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2007-01-29 16:42

I would like to dedicate the Woyzeck series to both Karen Kruse and Maria Xagorari. To Karen for it is about nude men, a neutral background, the colouring of the skin, poses that are not from the classical genre etc. To Maria for it’s about gestures connected to the whole body. Gestures that are always part of the body language as a whole including the gaze as well. And it’s about using paint as what it is, a full colour medium. And instead of making lots of words I want to tell them what I have to say regarding all these issues in the language of painting.

2007-01-29 19:55

Honored. Well I think the gaze in Woyzeck I is the most powerful you have shown us here. Even more powerful than the emotion series. And OK, message recieved. I wish I were able to send such clear messages through my painting.

2007-02-02 11:07

Hanjo, I have been without internet these past two weeks. Finally, yesterday I could connect myself and the first thing I did was to take a look at your new paintings, see what you were doing, and there it a smash in the face , Sebastian, or the Woyzeck series. As usual I stopped to analyze the physical weight of the figure, the brutal way of using the colour, the gaze the lines in his mouth, his hands’ve surpassed yourself. Here I was struggling to get something out of my works and there you are with another fantastic nude, cant help to hate you sometimes......
Today I read your comment and it made me smile, (thanks for the dedication) although I love to read your comments and your letters I always learn much more from your paintings, thats true; someone said “whatever is clearly thought can be clearly said” well you say it and you can also paint it. ...(and draw it, because your paintings are firmly held by a powerful drawing , like it or not).
I am absolutely devoted to your work , you know that, but when I read your comments, which are always interesting, I can’t help thinking ¿ when it comes to art can we really say what to do or how to do it , or where to go? Haven’t we learned with time there are no rules to produce a real work of art?
When I see the last Rabbi’s head of Kagan or Maria’s painting’s It makes me SURE there are no rules. He has made an excelent artwork with all those semicircular strokes, that break the face in many facets, as complicated as the person itself, he is inmersed in his time and his society up to the bones, even when working alone he is not by himself. I can feel his fears, his doubts in his paintings and understand them. Maria has something very honest and very earthy about her mysterious paintings (Maria I think your paintings will never send “clear” messages, they are more about the other kind of messages we all have to descifer, which makes them disturbing , enigmatic, they make one feel uneasy ) . There is something that can’t be explained , that cant be measured in an artwork and I think it can appear in any way, when it comes out.
Yes your series are about nude men, against neutral backgrounds, ( ¿is that so important?) mine are more about male voluptousness, and incommunication, but
¿ isn’t it all really about ourselves? .

2007-02-03 00:52

I want to thank both of you for your comments. Very interesting, very serious, very honest and emotional texts. I’m flattered that you took the time.
I am aware of the difficulty of using words when it comes to very complex themes. One of the reasons I try to avoid these debates is that my English is much to poor to be used to describe such complicated issues. Maybe I’m even not able to do it in my own language. But I have an awkward feeling with Karen’s question „... can we really say what to do or how to do it?“. So I want to make clear that it is not my intention to tell others how to do their artwork. No way. If you took it this way I am very sorry for to have caused this misunderstanding and have to apologize.

2007-02-03 17:03

You don’t have to apologize , it isn’t a question only about you, that's why I said “we”, I mean I’m begining to doubt if there is something that can be said to help somebody make a better artwork, because it is so subjetive, so personal, and there are all kinds of approaches to it . I have to say nevertheless that you take the trouble and the time and your energy writing about other peoples artworks, including mine, and I have to thank you for that. Nothing’s worse than silence when it concerns our own work, and I’ve enjoyed your discussions very much (and learned from them too ). Keep on saying what you think about everything , I’ll read it.

2007-02-04 14:41

Hanjo, in deed, there is no need to apologise. Your way of eliminating narrative interferences of the background in order to enhance the power of bold colour and excellent drawing, your precedent comment on Karen’s work about “after sex” environment, our discussion about Jenny’s Saville grandeur; all this is an excellent opportunity to talk about the importance of what I call the “story told by a painting” (I think, Karen, you might agree to that).

We would all agree with you that Monet’s waterlilies are not about waterlilies at all, as Michelangelo’s affreschi are not about doom’s day. They are about painting. Nevertheless, figurative art in particular, is also about man (meaning human) and his experience. One cannot isolate the painterly properties of, for instance, Jenny’s Saville work from the narrative part of its content.
Remember “Reverse”? LINK The choice of red as the dominant colour had everything to do with “the story told by the painting”. Look at those lips, they are like the cherries on your cake but they also talk about haemorrhage. Her gaze is penetrating and lusty but she is lying on a morgue’s table.
Remember “Matrix”? LINK
I wouldn’t dare to even begin explaining what this painting is about (it may tell different stories to different people). But when you look at it, the use of colour is not the first thing that comes to your mind. Of course, it is precisely due to the mastery in the use of colour and drawing that this “story” gets through. That is the essence of figurative art generally speaking. You cannot separate the meaning of what is shown from the way it is painted. Even when at times one factor may be more important than the other. If you change the paint part the meaning part changes too.

Karen you say that your paintings are about male voluptuousness and lack of communication and I see what you mean. As you say there is “something in an artwork that cannot be measured and can appear in any way”. If you need a setting for your figures in order to talk about male voluptuousness and lack of communication, you need a setting. Period. If Hanjo needs his plain background, that’s what he needs. If Hillel needs his brushstrokes, his paintings need them. What we are doing here for each other, which I wouldn’t change for the world now that I found you guys, is comment on whether we think this or that element used has added or not to the achievement of what we think our fellow artist’s intentions were. Their intentions not ours. You may argue that we can’t always know their intentions. I would answer that, in my opinion, it is of great help for an artist even to hear that his intentions have been completely misunderstood. It helps you solve things or maybe be set free of certain illusions.

By the way Karen, you can’t imagine how much you have encouraged me by saying my paintings make one feel uneasy. That was exactly my intention in some of them. Thank you.

Hanjo, I would like to add to Karen’s comment, I too am grateful for our discussions here. Before I found you people …“I was in the dark here”!
(Al Pacino in “Scent of a Woman”, or whatever the film is called in english…)

2007-02-04 15:13

Karen and Hanjo, I would be interested to know what each of you thinks of Paula Rego's work. Especially her Dancing Ostriches series


2007-02-23 02:10 been meaning to comment on Hanjo's latest series of paintings and I came across this beautiful conversation. So firstly about the paintings, they're all as handsome as ever. I probably wouldn't have chosen this as my favourite but that's neither here nor there as it does illustrate what can be done with the simplest gesture. I'm afraid I'm not familiar with Woyzeck and am assuming it's something literary or a play perhaps and I'd like to know more about it. Please fill me in.
Personally I've always liked the two figured paintings. "Knot" particularly stands out. What it is I think is the sexual energy and the time spent pondering the scene. I'm sure the photographs alone would be of interest but it's the artist's intense and obsessive interest in the subject that gives it, at least for me tremendous power. I'm not sure the present topic holds the same interest.
Karen's words here describe the attributes of your painting beautifully and also Karen I'd like to thank you for the kind words about my work. It's not unusual that artists dealing with similar concerns should gravitate to each other. What's interesting is where we diverge and that's where the learning comes into it. Whether it shows or not I know that I've learned and been influenced by all of you. There's a cross current of visual communication that goes on here and that's a great gift, sometimes challenging and difficult but always beneficial.
By the way Maria, about Paula Rego. Initially I wasn't partial to her work (too much like Balthus, too still, surrealistic, etc.) I've come to like her greatly. I also like Frida Khalo, another artist I couldn't be further from yet they're both honest painters and are somewhere in my mind. Sometimes I sense some Hopper like feeling in Karen's work. It's the light and quiet. I love him. He couldn't paint the human figure but the paintings work. That's all that matters.

2008-10-17 09:46

Powerfull!The man is tryng to get a exit point .Pure existentialism . Regards . Canonico Costantino


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