The long lasting carrier of the intermedia pioneer Hans Breder is marked with his continuous need for investigation and exploration of the intersection between painting, sculpture, installation, performance, music, photography, film and video. Charged from the beginning with an experimental voice, Hans Breder pushed himself and his students to experiment and to challenge the norms. Standing always in-between and merging two or three or even more art disciplines, his work can be looked at as building a bridge between illusionistic and ‘real’ space, between the world of reality and the one behind the looking glass.
As early as 1964, Breder started to document his own ‘interventions’ by placing a rectangular mirror in a riverbank. The reflective surface of the water and reflective surface of the glass connect and start to play with space, body and fragmentation of the form. The ‘imaginary being’ created with the use of reflection and duplication of the limbs challenge our perception and understanding of the real. We are offered a door, created by the mirror, into a dream world. The breaking up of the border between the two worlds by the use of a mirror, challenge our perception and we are left, as in a fog, disoriented. The reference to the limit in human perception is an important feature in Breder’s artworks. Subsequently, this feature re-appeared and the play with the gaze and perception followed in Breder’s sculptural works. Highly polished metal forms were placed onto black and white background so that yet again our perception was challenged and the reflective surface of the material never offered our eye rest.
From 1969-1973 Breder returns to photography with one single aim- to create a body of work, collectively known as Body/Sculptures. From a historical point of view, these works are significant in the development of the synergy between photography and performance art. Seeing his work also in the context of classical sculpture, where the artist managed to push away the sensation of a cold stillness by focusing on movement and dance, Breder continued with his aim to challenge the traditional. The experimentation with the body alongside the ephemeral quality of the ‘imaginary body’ echoes the question of the ephemeral quality of early performance and body art of the late 60’s. How long will this imaginary body last for and also how does it follow the tradition of the transfigured body?
Hans Breder illusionistic world dissolves boundaries and manipulates perception. Sometimes enticing, sometimes shocking our perception to an experience of a limit, the artist aims to reach a realm of pure possibility. His influential voice heard during the period that the West was undergoing dramatic upheaval, echoes and influences even today. The illusionistic world of Hans Breder’s Body/Sculpture series is on view from February 29- April 2, 2016 at Danziger Gallery in New York City, USA. With this exhibition, the gallery follows with its aim to investigate and showcase the place photography has in the world and its importance throughout history.
Featured images in slider all part of Hans Breder- Body/Sculpture series 1969-1973, vintage gelatin print.(detail). All images courtasy of Danziger Gallery.