Christian Hofmann (Austria)

About the exhibition theme: "What's the matter?"

In his exhibition at SOTAGALLERY, the Austrian painter Christian Hofmann presents four of his picture cycles. They offer good insight into the fundamental themes of his ouevre. As a representational painter, Hofmann has an open eye for the concrete world that the surrounds him. He is attracted by everyday objects, such as flags, deckchairs or anything out of wood or metal that has been discarded and thrown away. Just as familiar are images of animals – chickens, cows and goats – whose portraits become a mirror of the human condition.

Dialogues is the title of a series which – with subtle irony – explore various aspects of animal’s heads. In the animal portraits of chickens and cows which Hofmann observes during his visits to the countryside, each creature displays its very own individual and unique character. The confrontation of these characters in the paintings hints at subtle emotions and quite human relationships. The viewer recognises all too familiar dramas, tragicomedies, worlds of emotions and vanities that become grotesque as in the picture of the cockrel who haughtily eyes the viewer, convinced and flustered by his sense of importance. In "Menage à Trois" – two bulls and a cow – the background of their relationship is subtly adjusted by such banal facts like the ID-tags attached to the animals’ ears.

Fragments are findings that Christian Hofmann discovers when he explores his surroundings. Things that others ignore, pass by, that have been discarded after they have fulfilled their original use. These objects have often been lying around for quite some time before the artist disovers and claims them, frequently too late to understand what they were actually once used for and meant to do. What is left touches us in the way it is arranged in an iconic composition.
The matter of the materials – weathered wood and rusty metal – which at some time have been handled by human hands, cut, shaped, and painted, stands in an interesting contrast to the iconic compositions and stories that the artist creates with them. The works of this series mark a step toward the abstract and meditate on greater questions of existence.

The series Fabrics is represented by two paintings: "Oostende" and "At the Seaside" are characteristic in their simplicity. The blue sky beckons us, but the deckchairs are puzzling – do they invite us to sit and enjoy the sun, or do their solid forms and stern stripes rebuff us?

With Flags the artist embarks on a theme that appears to break away from the banality of everyday objects, as flags tend to signal a sense of symbolic meaning and celebration. Here, however, Hofmann appears to stress the intrinsic quality of the material, turning his attention to the lightness and the brilliant colours of the fabric and its movement.

Michael Scheriau.


About Christian Hofmann's Paintings

"Made to Measure" or "Barricades" are titles of paintings by Christian Hofmann, in which evidently contrasting areas of color are in perfect arrangement, The relevant paradigmatic form of two wooden boot-trees stands out well against a bright red, and a different shade of red dominates the structure of the "Barricades", a painted montage consisting of various woods and panels in front of the blue sky.

It is always few consciously chosen and combined objects, wood, metals or textiles, bulky refuse or scrapproducts of our civilization, which Christian Hofmann fits together to his artistic configuration. One can speek of painted collages, silent ensembles, in which experiences and thoughts about human activities are expressed in a subtle way.

The intention behind these paintings is based on a precisely calculating meeting together of this disperate or related elements on the area of the painting itself. The clear cut of the boarderlines of these areas results in the order of the painting. The cutting face of the elements establishes the harmony of the values in their not only decorative intensity.

Should Christian Hofmann's paintings be artistically assigned, Austria's present art trends could offer only few possibilities. By no means can he be connected with the prevailing expressionism in this country. As a painter he rather stands alone. And particularly today, as people reflect upon the "supposed end of painting", his willful persistance makes him a complete outsider. There may rather be connections to eastasian art – in many a japanese colored wood-cut you can find this reflection of clearcut meaningful areas of color. And without doubt the art of the "Klassische Moderne" has to be remembered in this context.

With the cubists one can detect that prismatic arrangement in layers of color and (particularly with Leger) the strategy of clear-cut contours of the single elements in the paintings becomes obvious.

The developments of his paintings within the last ten years shows the artistic persevering work regarding concentration and intensification of his artistic means. The increasing intensity of the colors and the tendency toward becoming scarcer simultaneously brings about a new quality of light and space.

Christian Hofmann is by no means an abstract painter in all his paintings "our" worId is depicted. In plain things of every day life, such as in small wooden board, in working gloves, in wooden cooking spoons the human presence – though subtly concealed – becomes obvious.
And together with this presence of our world in these paintings the painters renders an embarrassing anlysis of our present times.

The intimate twosomeness of the nuclear family as well as the seclusion becoming breeding grounds of shizophrenia. His objects apear harmless, like inexhaustibly creative children combine figurations from household junk and bring them to life, though these objects may turn into a nightmare during a good night's rest.
On closer examinations the camuorflage of human activities, anxiety, aggression and ambiguity reveals itself as characteristics of our existence. In addition to this a growing tendency towards rusticity, rural life, express the flight from reality into a world of dreams, a fact which becomes obvious in most of the painter's favour ite objects. Christian Hofmann, who uses an outstanding, brilliant technique of painting, conveys a disturbing message about us as well as about himself.

"What´s the matter?"
Der österreichische Maler Christian Hofmann präsentiert anlässlich seiner Ausstellung in der SOTAGALLERY in Hongkong vier seiner Bilderzyklen. Diese gewähren einen sehr guten Einblick in die Grundthemen seines künstlerischen Schaffens. Als gegenständlicher Maler hat er stets ein offenes Auge für die Dinge, die ihn umgeben. Ihn spricht Alltägliches, wie Fahnen, Liegestühle oder auch Gegenstände aus Holz und Metall, die achtlos weggeworfen wurden, an. Ebenso vertraut sind uns die von Christian Hofmann gewählten Tiere, wie Hühner, Kühe und Ziegen, deren Porträts ein Spiegel des Menschlichen sind.

Dialoge lautet der Titel der Serie, die mit leiser Ironie das Gegenüber von Tierköpfen auslotet, wobei jedes Tier ganz individuelle Charakterzüge zeigt hintergründige Gefühlsregungen und ein allzumenschliches Beziehungsgeflecht ahnen lässt: Konfrontation verschiedener Charaktere, Tierportraits, Hühner und Kühe, Tiere, denen der Maler bei seinen Aufenthalten auf dem Land immer wieder begegnet. Allzu Vertrautes spielt sich hier vor den Augen des Betrachters ab, Tragikomödien, Gefühlswelten, Eitelkeiten bis hin zur Groteske, wie der Gockel, der dem Betrachter von oben herab einäugig entgegenblickt, ganz überzeugt von der eigenen Bedeutung. „Menage a` trois“ - zwei Bullen und eine Kuh - leicht verstellt der Beziehungshintergrund durch banale Realitäten, wie der Nummernchip im Ohr der Tiere.

Fragmente sind die Fundstücke, die Christian Hofmann entdeckt, wenn er seine Umgebung aufmerksam durchsucht. Dinge, die andere übersehen, an denen andere vorübergehen, die weggeworfen wurden, da sie ihren ursprünglichen Nutzen nicht mehr erfüllen konnten. Lange liegen diese Teile oft, bevor der Künstler sie sieht und erkennt, so lange, dass ihr ursprünglicher Sinn und Zweck nicht mehr nachvollziehbar ist. Das Übriggebliebene, das durch die Art und Weise, wie es zu ikonenhafter Komposition zusammengefügt wird, tief berührt.
Die Stofflichkeit des Materials - verwittertes Holz und verrostetes Metall - in seiner langen Geschichte von menschlicher Hand irgendwann bearbeitet, zurechtgeschnitten, gedrechselt, bemalt, steht in spannendem Gegensatz zu den Bildern und Geschichten, zu denen der Künstler sie zusammenfügt. Die Arbeiten aus der Serie Fragmente markieren den Weg in die Abstraktion und lassen übergeordnete Fragen des Seins anklingen.

Aus der Serie Stoffe sind zwei Werke zu sehen: „Oostende“ und „Am Meer“, die wie alle Werke Christian Hofmanns durch Schlichtheit bestechen. Der blaue Himmel leuchtet uns entgegen, die Liegestühle beunruhigen ein wenig, laden sie ein zum Verweilen, zum Sonnenbad oder zeigen sie durch die Geschlossenheit ihrer Form, durch das strenge Streifenmuster, Abweisung oder Abwesenheit?

Fahnen: hiermit handelt der Künstler ein Thema ab, das zunächst aus seinem Kanon insofern auszubrechen scheint, als Flaggen oder Fahnen nicht unbedingt zu den alltäglichen, banalen Dingen des Lebens zählen, sondern vielmehr als bedeutungsschwere Symbole gelten. Dennoch wird auch hier das Vordergründige betont, wie die Leichtigkeit und Farbigkeit der Stoffe und deren Bewegung.

By Michal Scheriau


1957 born in Vienna, Austria

1979 – 85 University of Applied Arts Vienna Master of painting under Professor Hutter

1985 Diploma

2003 Curator of the exhibition-series “Reality Check!, Positions of Austrian Realist Art”
Curator of the exhibition “Tendencies”, Gallery Exner, Vienna

2004 Beginning of the co-operation with Emil Herker

2005 Preparation of joint exhibitions in HK, Germany and Italy

lives and works in Vienna.

Exhibitions (selection)

2006 State-Of-The-Arts Gallery, Hong Kong
Gallery Hagen, Offenburg, Germany“Emotional Associations”, Austrian Art Forum Milan, Italy
2005 Gallery Exner, “Zwischen(T)räume”, Vienna
Gallery Tummler, „Bonus Tracks“, Schärding, Austria
2002-04 “Reality Check!” toured through Austria
2001 UNART GALLERY, Villach, Carinthia
2000 Gallery Mondsee, Austria
1999 “Dreampainting”, Museum auf Abruf, Vienna
1998 Arthouse Bruck, Styria, Austria
1996 ART MIAMI, USA; ART AMERICAS, USA; ART FRANKFURT, Germany; Gallery Aphold, Freiburg, Germany; ART VIENNA, Austria
1995 ART VIENNA, Austria; Gallery Altmann, Austria
1994 WUK Projektspace, “Monuments”, Vienna
1993 Gallery Altmann, Austria
1992 "MIKADO IN SPACE", first oil picture in orbit.

Collecters list for Christian Hofmann:


Exklusivedition einer Farbradierung

MAUTNER MARKHOF AG "Monumente" 1990
Serie von 6 Ölbildern mit unternehmensspezifischer Thematik

2 Exklusiveditionen von Farbradierungen
Ölbild und Plakatedition

ACTUAL BERGER "Actual Berger“ 1992
Firmenportrait Kalender und Plakatedition mit unternehmensspezifischer Thematik

ASTRA "Schizophrenie" 1992 Produktportrait Ölbild und Exklusivedition einer Farbradierung mit unternehmensspezifischer Thematik

CALCOMP "Mikado im All" 1992 Präsentation auf der IFABO

DACHO BACKWAREN "Monumente" 1992
Firmenportrait Serie von 3 Ölbildern mit unternehmensspezifischer Thematik

BOSE – MITSUBISHI "Ordnung muß sein" 1993 Exklusivedition einer Farbradierung mit unternehmensspezifischer Thematik

SIGVARIS "Made to measures" 1993 Industrieportrait Ölbild mit unternehmensspezifischer Thematik

BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB "Am Meer" 1994 Exklusivedition einer Farbradierung

UNTERRICHTSMINISTERIUM Portrait von Dr. Helmut Zilk 1997
Ölbild für die Ministergalerie im Unterrichtsministerium

Bilder befinden sich im Besitz von:

Republik Österreich - Kulturamt Stadt Wien - Land Niederösterreich - Landesgalerie Eisenstadt - Stadtgalerie Bruck/Mur - Astra Pharma, Linz - Baxter Imuno, Wien - Gemdat, Stockerau - Sigvaris, Wien - Data Systems Austria AG, Wien - Mautner Markhof, Wien - Smith, Kline & Beecham, Wien - Calcomp, Schwechat - Mitsubishi/Bose, Wien - Bank Austria Creditanstalt, Wien - Comunal Credit, Wien - Actual Berger, Tulln - Zürich Kosmos, Wien - Bäckerei Dacho, Klosterneuburg - Raab&Raab Vermögensverwaltung, Wien - Fernwärme Wien - Scandia Lebensversicherungen, Wien – Mannesmann Tally, Wien – Bristol-Myers Squibb, Wien - Unterrichtsministerium, Portrait Dr. Helmut Zilk, sowie in zahlreichen privaten Sammlungen.