Michael Hauffen

Galerie Christian Gögger

Signs tell us how fast to go on the highway, indicate where the restroom is, warn us to beware of the dog, thank us for not smoking. In short, signs are everywhere, and not just the semiotic kind. There are more than a few people who think there may be a few too many. Why, then, does Michael Hauffen insist on producing hundreds more, and on covering the walls of the gallery with rows upon rows of them?

Expectations to the contrary, Hauffen’s signs seem to have nothing to do with bringing more order into the world. They distinguish themselves quite clearly from run-of-the-mill signs, even when they imitate them. Thus, the central motif of Hauffen’s paintings is a post holding up a board inscribed with phrases written in block letters. Only occasionally is this formula abandoned, for instance, the sign entitled Ikone (Icon, 1994) on which the phrase “Bitte weitergehen” (Please proceed) is

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