Hans Hansen: Atelier

Camera Austria, Graz

– 4 June 2017


Hans Hansen is considered to be one of the most important creators of product and still-life photography in Germany. In its “Hans Hansen: Atelier” exhibition, the “laboratory for photography and theory” in the premises of the magazine Camera Austria in Graz showcases a cross section from the photographer’s many years of practice. It combines freelance projects and commissioned works thereby broaching the interfaces between free and applied photography. The exhibition is a joint collaboration between the Berlin-based photographer Annette Kelm and Hendrik Schwantes, co-founder of the graphic studio Heimann and Schwantes, and has been put together with Hans Hansen himself.

As a student of applied graphics at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, which at the time was rather conservative, Hansen ignored his tutors’ design briefs and insisted on photography as a medium for his work. As a result, he was expelled from the art academy in 1962 following a dispute.

Hans Hansen mainly photographs objects. In doing so, he draws his ideas direct from the practice of tabletop photography, in which products are photographed on a shooting table which is optimally lit in a studio. By positioning objects on a light table, they are lit equally from above and below. The result is abstract and multifaceted photographs, which could be interpreted beyond a factual representation and developed into his imagery. Examples of this are presented in the exhibition such as “Ei” [Egg] (1998) and “Kodakschachtel” [Kodak Box] (2015). As a result of his many years of working on commission for the glass firm Iittala, Hansen observed that glass and water look identical in front of the camera. This revelation inspired him to create the series “Glaswasser” [Glass Water] in which he links images of glass and water. This series, as others, covers a considerable area within the exhibition at Camera Austria. Hansen developed his particular aptitude for pictorial expression over the decades in his photographic studio, which he has, for fifty years, always called “Atelier Hans Hansen”.


The museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10 am to 5 pm. Information about other events organised at the Camera Austria can be found online.


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