The Kunstverein Hannover presents the first institutional solo exhibition in Europe by the American painter Hernan Bas (born 1978 in Miami, lives in Detroit). The son of Cuban parents, he grew up in Miami and developed in part large-format paintings depicting fantastic, dreamlike landscapes whose protagonists convey a melancholic romanticism.
Hernan Bas, whose work is already represented in numerous public and private collections in the United States and Europe, has evolved a wide-ranging oeuvre within the course of only a few years. His pictures are marked by an exciting combination of fictional landscapes, abstract elements and religious or mythological set pieces. Diverse techniques such as woodcut, silkscreen, airbrush, acrylic and oil painting are superimposed over each other, opening up in the process a wondrous world of art historical and literary references.
The exhibition in the Kunstverein Hannover focuses on the artist’s most recent works, exemplified by a selection of about 40 paintings of various sizes from the past five years. The common denominator in Bas’s works is the isolated protagonist who is only given an individual character in several small-format portraits, slipping into diverse roles there. Within the scope of the large-format canvases, the figures function conversely as the focal point of a tremendously multifaceted painting and are faced in the picture with melancholically languorous, peculiarly fairytale-like landscapes. A gathering of Hernan Bas’s technically very heterogeneous works makes the impression of a walk through a wonderland of art and literary history.
Abstraction and narrative representation regularly overlap and merge. It involves classical and modern myths that arise in the pictures like episodes from a fantasy novel and then disappear again before they can finally be deciphered. Bas thus generates a peculiar atmosphere in many of his works that oscillates between hopeless, cool resignation and mystical, metaphysical yearning. The escapism that runs through his oeuvre, a withdrawal from the real world, nevertheless does not seem pessimistic in Bas’s paintings. Self-ironic picture titles refract the melancholy and transform the withdrawal into an inquisitive atmosphere of awakening and adventure.