Duane Hanson, Children Playing Game, 1979, polyvinyl chloride, coloured with oil, mixed technique and accessories, Collection Hanson, Davie, Florida, Van de Weghe Fine Art, New York, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2010, Courtesy Institut für Kulturaustausch.

Gregory Crewdson, Untitled (Forest Clearing), ‘Beneath the Roses’, 2006, Digital carbon print, 144,8 x 223,5 cm, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York, © Gregory Crewdson, 2010.

Gregory Crewdson and Duane Hanson, An Intersection of Positions

Gregory Crewdson, Untitled (Blue Period), ‘Beneath the Roses’, 2005, Digital carbon print, 144,8 x 223,5 cm. © Gregory Crewdson, 2010.

Gregory Crewdson, Untitled (Worthington Street), ‘Beneath the Roses’, 2006, Digital carbon print, 144,8 x 223,5 cm. Courtesy White Cube, London, © Gregory Crewdson, 2010.

Gregory Crewdson, Untitled (Railway Children), ‘Beneath the Roses’, 2003, Digital carbon print, 144,8 x 223,5 cm, © Gregory Crewdson, 2010.

Gregory Crewdson, Untitled (Trailer Park), ‘Beneath the Roses’, 2007, Digital carbon print, 144,8 x 223,5 cm, © Gregory Crewdson, 2010.

Gregory Crewdson, Untitled (Temple Street), ‘Beneath the Roses’, 2006, Digital carbon print, 144,8 x 223,5 cm, © Gregory Crewdson, 2010.

Gregory Crewdson, Untitled (House Fire), ‘Beneath the Roses’, 2004, Digital carbon print, 144,8 x 223,5 cm, © Gregory Crewdson, 2010.

Gregory Crewdson, Untitled (Kent Street), 'Beneath the Roses', 2007, Digital carbon print, 144,8 x 223,5 cm, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York, © Gregory Crewdson, 2010.

Duane Hanson, Flea Market Lady, 1990, bronze, coloured with oil, mixed technique, accessories, Collection Hanson, Davie, Florida, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2010, Courtesy Institut für Kulturaustausch.

Duane Hanson, Traveller, 1985/1990, Bronze, coloured with oil, mixed technic, Accessoires, Harald Quandt Stiftung, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2010.

Duane Hanson, Old Couple on a Bench, 1994, bronze, coloured with oil, mixed technique, accessories, Collection Hanson, Davie, Florida, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2010, Courtesy Institut für Kulturaustausch.

 

Museum Frieder Burda
Lichtentaler Allee 8 b
(00)49–(0)7221–39898-0
Baden Baden
Mysterious Realities
November 27, 2010-March 6, 2011

Their works confuse and touch the observer. Works by American artists Duane Hanson and Gregory Crewdson are at the center of an exhibition at the Museum Frieder Burda. Both artists present people, with their everyday lives and all their hopes, yearnings and broken dreams. People we usually do not notice, aged and marked by reality, by life. While Hanson shapes his life-sized figures with a great deal of sympathy, Crewdson spreads a gloomy and depressing atmosphere in his pictures of lonely people in their houses, gardens and in streets. The exhibition at Museum Frieder Burda presents about 30 figures by Duane Hanson in dialogue with 20 large format works from the series Beneath the Roses by the photographer Gregory Crewdson.

With his realistic sculptures, the American artist Duane Hanson (1925-1996) has become a synonym for contemporary realism in art. Typical motives are average people like housewives, waitresses, car dealers, janitors. People who haven’t really been spoiled by life. Posture and expression of these figures are very close to reality. There have been scenes in which museum visitors addressed one of Hanson’s figures, a tourist sitting on a bench with his camera, excusing themselves for having walked into the picture.

Duane Hanson – More than Reality
”The world is so remarkable, astonishing and surprising that I do not need to exaggerate. Whatever exists is simply incredible,“ Duane Hanson has commented on his work.

Duane Hanson was born on January 17, 1925 in Alexandria, Minnesota. He is one of the most influential American sculptors and is considered to be the founder of hyperrealism. From 1951 on, Hanson first studied at University of Minnesota, later at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Between 1953 and 1960 he lived in Germany, where he worked as an art teacher in Munich and as a sculptor in Bremerhaven. Hanson got the incentive to work with materials such as polyester resin and fibre glass from the German sculptor George Gyro. In 1961, Hanson returned to his native country, where he began with his life-sized human figures.

At the beginning of his career as an artist he committed himself to political topics and denounced social hardship. His figures with their maltreated, aged and often misshapen bodies seem extremely realistic. To achieve this effect, the artist produced imprints of live models and filled them with resin. He produced some figures in bronze as well. Then he painted his sculptures with oil paint and acrylic spray. He sewed in their hair, painted bruises, moulded skin irregularities and chose the clothing and all accessories very precisely.

In the 1970s he shifted the main focus of his work to the portrayal of American daily life, from the constructor to the office worker to the stout sales lady at the flea market. ”My work is about people living in quiet despair. I show helplessness, tiredness, ageing, frustration,“ Duane Hanson explains. He radiates a sense of sympathy and empathy towards his figures.

In 1972, he participated in the Documenta 5 in Kassel, Germany. Since the 1990ies, numerous retrospectives of his works have taken place. Today there are around 120 of his fibre glass people in existence. Duane Hanson fell ill of cancer and passed away in 1996 at the age of 70 in Boca Raton, Florida.

Gregory Crewdson:
Puzzling and Fascinating Mystery

Crewdson puts the human being at the centre of his mysterious photographs as well, though somewhat more concealed. While Hanson‘s figures touch you in a kind way, Crewdson‘s photographs rather create a feeling of unease. In Crewdson’s works, the dreamy people are locked in their rooms, lost in streets or are sitting lonely in cafés. When observing these pictures, you can feel the decay behind the front. In their faces you can see the traces of life, not as clearly as in Hanson’s works, but rather subliminal.

The American photographer Gregory Crewdson, born September 26, 1962 in New York Brooklyn, produces his pictures with an effort usually found in Hollywood movies only. His works, which sometimes remind us of movies by Alfred Hitchcock, David Lynch or Steven Spielberg, tell stories of the American life, giving the observer room for interpretation.

Crewdson already has the picture in his mind, before he arranges it in several days of blocked streets and with a crew of approximately 100 members — consisting of light, camera and bit players — perfectly arranged and using many visual effects. He produces atmospheres and weather conditions artificially, sometimes by using a huge rain machine. His mysterious pictures keep the balance between familiar and strange, they build up a tension the observer can hardly escape. They make us think about the meaning of life, sometimes even seeming mystical and aiming at the human psyche.

His father, a psychologist, had his office on the ground floor of his own house. As a child, Crewdson confesses, he had tried to spy on these conversations. He further said in an interview, that this was like a metaphor for his life today.

In his esthetic photographs, kept in dark colours, he creates the moment right in between, in which everything or nothing is possible, as movie style of a movie expert in love with details.

With their slightly creepy, partly threatening atmosphere, the pictures insinuate much, but leave very much open as well. They do not tell conventional stories, they rather are melancholic dream visions on a thin line between normality and normal horror.

The photographs from the series Beneath the Roses, produced by Crewdson between 2003 and 2007, enter an interesting dialogue with the life-sized figures by Duane Hanson. The works of both artists impressively reflect the difficulty of human existence.

Duane Hanson, Queenie II, 1988, epoxy resin, coloured with oil, mixed technique, accessories, Collection Hanson, Davie, Florida, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2010, Courtesy Institut für Kulturaustausch.

Duane Hanson, Man on Mower, 1995, bronze, coloured with oil, lawn mower, Collection Hanson, Davie, Florida, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2010, Courtesy Institut für Kulturaustausch.

Duane Hanson, Cowboy, 1984/1995, bronze, coloured with oil, mixed technique, accessories, Collection Hanson, Davie, Florida, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2010, Courtesy Institut für Kulturaustausch.

Duane Hanson, Housepainter I, 1984/1988, epoxy resin, coloured with oil, mixed technique, accessories, Collection Hanson, Davie, Florida, Courtesy Van de Weghe Fine Art, New York, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2010, Courtesy Institut für Kulturaustausch.

Portrait of the artist Gregory Crewdson © Gregory Crewdson, 2010.

Gregory Crewdson, Untitled (Maple Street), ‘Beneath the Roses’, 2004, Digital carbon print, 144,8 x 223,5 cm, © Gregory Crewdson, 2010.

Duane Hanson, Self-Portrait with Model, 1979, polyvinyl chloride, coloured with oil, mixed technique and accessories, Collection Hanson, Davie, Florida, Courtesy Van de Weghe Fine Art, New York, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2010, Courtesy Institut für Kulturaustausch,