Jens Hausmann – Zauberberg Effekt
The exhibition “Zauberberg-Effekt” (Magic Mountain Effect) is probably the exhibition by Jens Hausmann that so far most vividly illustrates how much the Berlin painter loves to lead the viewer up the garden path.
Based on mundane sources such as photos from travel magazines or from advertising, he constructs supposed dream worlds that are supposed to symbolize success and luxury on the outside, but appear empty on the inside and always bear the danger of turning out to be nightmares and illusions. All too easily, the inhabitants can remain trapped in the dream.
Not only are the inhabitants missing, but also any life. Elements of nature do appear, but only in architectural corsets and often in an artificial, almost toxic color scheme. In some paintings, however, Hausmann gives nature a picture-filling space of its own, for example in the form of an impenetrable jungle or a shark that advances from dark depths to the surface with its mouth wide open.
The constructivism in his painting clearly refers to a constructed reality.
Jens himself calls his paintings “architectural vanitas symbols of modernity”.
Formally, what appeals to him most is to withdraw the depiction of architecture from photography and to use the means of painting to achieve a more substantial presence of the motif. In doing so, the painted image gains a quality of its own through its virtuoso treatment of surfaces and subtle lighting that photography cannot provide. Hausmann creates very subtle atmospheres that photographs cannot convey.
In addition to the open glass architectures, the exhibition is also populated by small images of claustrophobic concrete cells, which appear as counterparts to the prestigious buildings and in a sense form the architectural counterpart to the menacing shark.
When all material prosperity has been achieved and manifested in the steel and glass architectures, melancholy and boredom take hold at the empty pools. In this respect, his paintings can also be read as psychological parables of the bourgeoisie’s fear of loss in times of change. Here it becomes clear how appropriately the exhibition title was chosen, referring to Thomas Mann’s novel “Zauberberg,” in which the breathless bourgeoisie leads a bored, decadent life in a mountain sanatorium, while in the valley society is heading for the catastrophe of World War I. Under this title, the deck chairs that often surround Hausmann’s pools seem like direct quotations of the “couch cures” in The Magic Mountain, which only further shackle the protagonists to their lethargy.
What Hausmann achieves in his paintings, perhaps more than any other painter, is a psychologization of architecture and an intertwining of the architectural construction with the desires, dreams, and fears of its inhabitants, who are only indirectly present.
Exhibition: 18.06. – 30.07.2022
Opening Hours: Mi. – Sa., 13 – 18 pm