4-colour manual offset print
20 x 28,6 on 26 x 33 cm
7 3/4 x 11 1/4 on 10 1/4 x 13 in
© Eberhard Havekost, Galerie Gebrüder Lehmann Dresden/Berlin
For Eberhard Havekost the city is a central place of thriving habitation and experience. In it he finds motifs and situations in which the urban experiences of an aspiring consumer society find their phenotypical reflection. But what does a city actually look like? What characterizes our perception of a city? Beyond its political, economic and social functions, the city is the juncture where social order and the needs of the individual interlock. The individual moves through the predefined structure of the urban space, part of the mass and an individual observer at one and the same time. Havekost also uses the city in his own way. He perceives its complex structures as details taken from the whole: facades, streets, cars, shop windows, passers-by. Filtered through various media and transformed visually, these views of everyday life combine to form a kind of universal record of how architecture, design, transport, communication, consumer habits and entertainment are manifested in the present day. As signs of modern civilization, these pictures carry a universal code.
The city is always an indicator of social changes. Phases of progression and of regression alternate and leave their mark. Havekost’s work is also shaped by the consequences of the sweeping political, economic and cultural changes brought about by German reunification. Born and raised in former East Germany, he witnessed at first hand the complete overhaul of a political and value system in all areas of society. Nowhere has this been more palpable than in Berlin, where the artist lives today. His work thus stands as a prime example for art’s endeavour to affirm the signs of the time in a language befitting that time.
The distinctive character, evolved over centuries, of the old type of city is now increasingly giving way to a globalized, generically modelled city. This is true both of the megacities in Asia that are developing at an astounding rate and of the restructuring processes and expansion occurring in major European cities. This all means that the way we perceive life as defined by our urban environment is also changing. In India this development is occurring with tremendous intensity, triggering an evaluation of the social and cultural impact of this change. Each of Havekost’s pictures, created as archetypes, serves as a sound box, into which we can pour our own experiences of urban ways of living, for them to resonate back at us. The ‘internationalized’ pictorial language conveyed through media gives the Indian public the chance to start taking a comparative look at their own surroundings by observing a visual world that is unfamiliar yet accessible to them.
‘Sightseeing Trip’ presents large scale oil paintings as well as works on paper by Eberhard Havekost from the last ten years. The exhibition will go on show at two locales in India: Mumbai and Kochi. Both cities have seen massive urban redevelopment and planning in the last decades. Against this background the artist’s observations should stimulate an associative transfer of ideas from art to reality and back again.
Organisation and coordination for the exhibition is being jointly undertaken in a partnership between the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden State Art Collections), the Bhau Daji Lad Museum Mumbai and the Kerala Lalit Kala Akademi’s Kochi Biennale Foundation. A curator workshop is also planned as part of the exhibition project, which aims to give the artist, the show’s curator and young Indian curators the chance to exchange ideas on their experiences.
Trash I , B03, 2003
Oil on canvas
150 x 150 cm / 59 x 59 in
New Masters Gallery, Dresden Art Collections
© Eberhard Havekost, Courtesy Galerie Gebr. Lehmann, Dresden/Berlin
Photo: Werner Lieberknecht, Dresden
Eberhard Havekost is one of the most important artists of his generation. He was born in Dresden in 1967 and studied painting from 1991 to 1996 at the distinguished, historic academy in Dresden. His pictures are the result of a constant analysis of the outward appearance of our world. His pictorial language is closely tied to classical painting, but also bears similarities with modern visual media, such as photography, film and computer-generated graphics. His works have enjoyed international recognition for more than ten years. His works have been acquired by important museums and significant private collections (including Tate Modern, MOCA L.A., the Essl Museum, Frieder Burda collection and Saatchi collection). In 2010 he was appointed professor at the prestigious Kunsthochschule Düsseldorf.