In his new exhibition Skulptura at The Ravestijn Gallery, Koen Hauser (1972) presents a mysterious collection of photographs of objects and sculptures; many of these sculptures only exist in his imagination, visualised by digital means.
As author Merel Bem wrote; ‘As a photographer with a deeply rooted sense of creative urge, Koen Hauser never departs from the idea that a photograph should reflect reality. Why not construct a reality following his own rules? In his hands, photographic material is as malleable as wax, to be moulded into every conceivable form.’
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.
One particular photograph from Skulptura represents the miraculous metamorphosis of the ‘Rasa’ ensemble from the Flowerbomb collection of Viktor & Rolf, originally found in the collection of the Centraal Museum of Utrecht. Using images of the ensemble for reference, combined with software processing, Hauser attempted to make a 3D model of the couture piece. The experiment ended in apparent failure, yet the result, which only remotely resembled the shape of the original, was then covered in the textures of old stone, creating an image that is reminiscent of precious archaeological finds and modernist sculptures from the 1950s.
Indeed, within his own process, Hauser very much acts as a magician. Playing with new relationships, interactions and occurrences with varying style and form, he moves seamlessly through the world of sculpture, photography and fashion. And at the same time, he appeals to ideas from philosophy, mythology, animism, religion and spirituality. This nexus of divergent methods, references and hybrid structures are effortlessly intertwined, resulting in an anthology of Hauser’s world of wondrous shapes and forms. And in their enchanting seduction, the photographs of such material and physical objects evoke the desire for spatial experience, but it is the impossibility - inherent to the medium of photography – of such an action that gives the images their sometimes uncomfortable, even oppressive charge. Skulptura is a dream world, imprisoned in the second dimension.