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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Teun Hocks

The creations of Dutch artist, Teun Hocks, are about as multilayered as the man himself. With a combination of his extensive knowledge in painting and photography, he caters to an elegant imagination of dreamy landscapes and situations that are nothing less than absurd. His backdrops are hand-painted on a large scale to encompass the entire frame while shooting. The black and white negative of his subject is then printed, toned, and digitally colored to blend within the painterly scene. A man stands stranded on a slab of floating ice as his hat, briefcase, and umbrella attempt to make their way across the vast and silent sea. Hocks somehow manages to present the most alarming of circumstances in a very serene and slightly humorous manner. Be it from the possibility of suffering harm, to a complete absence of intelligence, the man’s mere presence creates a situational experience that is impossible to forget. In another piece titled “Untitled, (man with large sack),” a country drifter carries his possessions bundled to the end of a wooden stick. This mysterious accumulation of belongings is close to the size of a baby elephant, but the man’s stride is continuous. Although he uses his own body to model as the main subject for every piece, he rejects the notion of what results to be interpreted as self-portraits.

Stunning is how I interpret his works to be, and my amazement stems from the engineering of a living trompe l’oeil. He maintains absolute control over his materials and yet the outcome yields an astonishing mix of feelings that quarrel until the viewer possesses a desire for acceptance and the ability to smile.

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