23 February until 27 May 2018
Hans Hansen
Reconsidering Photography: Objects

As part of the exhibition series “Reconsidering Photography,” the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MKG) had invited Hans Hansen to take a fresh look at the Department of Photography and New Media by relating his own work to historical pieces in the collection and to its main emphases. Reconsidering Photography: Objects presented some 80 works by Hansen and culled from MKG’s photography holdings. One might encounter a photo by Hans Hansen in the editorial section of a magazine, but just as likely also on the wall of a museum. The distinction between applied photography and independent artistic work, one ostensibly meant to aid viewers’ orientation, is immaterial to this photographer. For him what counts is making a good picture. But what are the qualities of such a picture, and how does Hans Hansen photograph food, or an automobile by Daimler-Benz, and what about chairs by the design company Vitra? The exhibition set out to reveal his signature approach. Hansen pares down his subjects to their essence, carefully composing their form, coloring, and material in his images. He arranges the objects just so, arriving in this way at a degree of minimalist perfection that makes his photographs stand out from the mass of motifs we are constantly barraged with in product advertising. Hansen’s style of reduction has shaped the corporate identities of companies like Lufthansa and Vitra. He enables the viewer to look at the everyday world of things with fresh eyes.

Photo: Hans Hansen, Untitled for Gruner + Jahr/Stern magazine (detail), 1978, C-Print, 107 x 141 cm, © Hans Hansen