Critics’ Picks

View of “Hans Weigand,” 2017.

View of “Hans Weigand,” 2017.


Hans Weigand

Gabriele Senn Galerie
Schleifmühlgasse 1A
January 13–March 4, 2017

Like living creatures, the waves scurry over the surface of the sea—a viewer can hardly escape their delicacy. Like living creatures, these fleeting apparitions in Hans Weigand’s latest exhibition move through the gallery. Here, the artist exhibits large-format watercolors with india ink on wood with surprising subjects, in the style of Katsushika Hokusai. It is, however, not the actual graphics that are to be seen but rather the wooden blocks with backgrounds and surfaces that shimmer in mauve and ocher tones. The image brought forth from the wood—wave riders and their boards, for instance—are dyed black and bring a necessary contrast to the images.

Weigand draws on an image archive he has been compiling for decades. Trouble in Paradise (Falling J . . .), 2016, for example, shows Christ, clad in a loincloth, plunging into a breaking wave. In the diptych made up of Ghostsurfer 5 and Ghostsurfer 6, both 2016, the waves have just swallowed their riders—only the surfboards are vaguely perceptible. The high point of the exhibition is Gesiterwelle aus dem 16. Jahre (Wave of Spirits from the Sixteenth Century), 2015, a nearly seven-foot-wide work in which a turquoise tidal wave sweeps over the eggplant-colored surface of the sea. The sprawling valleys and peaked ridges of the water figure seem to be assembled from human bodies and drive the entire mass over the calm ocean. The depth of the printing block into which the wave is gouged makes the image appear as a living creature.

Translated from German by Diana Reese.