Hans Knapp’s artist’s book, ordnen

Foto Augustin Ochsenreiter


Hans Knapp has always worked intensely on his pencil sketches. The result is the work of a lifetime, consisting of a myriad of miniature drawings, a personal cosmos, and a constantly expanding drawing space. The illustrated volume ordnen, consists of almost 900 pages, and is designed as an artist’s book, a sort of tool and map for sinking directly and immediately into the depths of his world of pencil strokes. Like a camera zoom, the book provides a close-up exploration of Knapp’s graphic oeuvre through thousands of small drawings, collected in almost 200 plates, and other works, accompanied by a range of titles that comment on their contents.

The structures, processes, absurdities and vulnerabilities of the human condition are traced in this vast body of drawings in an approach that is both spontaneous and systematic. Themes and figures recur, like archetypes in the artist’s personal cosmogony, like the underground Tholos with its built-in Alpine horns or the Möbius strip treadmill for the sister of Sisyphus. The volume also includes two longer text contributions by the artist that summarise his (self)critical thought sketches on the human condition, which include issues, such as free will and judgement processes. Hans Knapp commented: “What is not possible is to have a complete view of everything I might desire, everything I could do in my life – and then choose what I want to create and what should be my real life. As who I am will only become clear gradually – in almost everything – including to myself.

ordnen was designed by Knapp in close collaboration with the graphic designers Andrea Muheim and Lioba Wackernell. The afterword by the curator Marion Piffer Damiani illustrates the book’s concept and the artist’s work process.


Hans Knapp was born in 1945 in Bressanone, Alto Adige/ Südtirol. After studying for years in Innsbruck, Munich, Vienna and Padua, he taught for twenty years and since 1992 he has been an independent artist. In addition to his artistic work, the artist has also conducted lengthy investigations into the philosophy of art and ethics.

Hans Knapp’s artist’s book, ordnen is available at the MeranoArte and Museion bookshops and directly from the publisher, Ritterverlag, Klagenfurt or alternatively in bookshops with the code number ISBN 978-3-85415-609-3.

The volume was published thanks to the financial support of the German Culture Department of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano-Alto Adige and a number of private sponsors.