START POINT PRIZE – Prize for emerging artists

Hans Ahnert

Image and text is one of the important principles to be found in art during the 20th century beginning with Cubism. Hans Ahnert introduces yet another variant, on the one hand he simply reduces the image to text, on the other he stylizes it to such an extent that it gives the impression of an abstract geometric structure. At the same time he plays other formal and contextual games with it. For example an image, whose only motif is the word CONTEMPORARY, is actually an object which was produced by wrapping segments of the popular IKEA bookshelf series Billa with black tape. Another work of a similar kind presents a passage from the aesthetic theory of Arthur Schopenhauer dealing with subtle issues of differences in aesthetic perception of image and text, the theme the image itself represents through its formal language. The third work, Elementary Knowledge, is seemingly quite different, but it explores a similar issue. The artist created a bookshelf, and on it he arranged the books according to the colours of their spines so that when viewed from a distance it formed a pixelated image – a pornographic presentation of fellatio. He thus succeeded in creating an open symbol based on the provocative relationship between the most depraved image that exists, and the enormous amount of information hidden “behind it” (here literally). Or, on a different level, between the two poles of humanity which he refers to, between the natural, instinctive basis of human existence and the vast, architecture of culture, symbolised by the book and the bookshelf. (mf)