Throughout his work, the artist Hans Knapp (b. Bressanone, 1945), has sought to bring order to our material and spiritual universe by “cataloguing” his experience, and now this vast task has been condensed into his new artist’s book ordnen (order). To mark the occasion, Museion is presenting both the volume and an exhibition by the artist at Passage with works from the museum collection and several original drawings that are published in the book.
ordnen offers an ample overview of the last four decades of Knapp’s work and therefore his entire oeuvre. The book highlights the artist’s work method, which involves the creation of an infinite number of small-format, very precise drawings. In this new publication, the artist has organised a vast amount of material into work blocks and themes that demonstrate the intensity of his philosophical questions and investigations.
The presentation at Museion Passage includes a selection of the original drawings published in the book and a large-scale work from the Museion collection which comes from Knapp’s Tholos project and is also published in his artist’s book. The Tholos project that Knapp has been developing for many years, takes its inspiration from an initial sketch of a deep well that gradually transformed into a sort of ancient shrine that Knapp pictures as being sunk into the ground. On the other hand, the lightbox entitled Morgen (Morning) offers a claustrophobic view from the bottom of the well up towards the sky. A vision that can be interpreted as an existential situation or perspective. The works on paper “Tholos,” “The Cross,” and “The Ends of the Parable” from the artist’s studio exemplify how Knapp develops his themes by producing countless tiny drawings.
This initiative is part of the new Museion Passage concept which, since last November, has been home to a new experimental format. By presenting artworks from the museum collection, the space on the ground floor of Museion seeks to establish a conversation with local cultural events. In this sense, Knapp’s work creates a dialogue with Matt Mullican’s large installation “102 Signs for a Museum Fence” currently on display at Passage. Parallels can certainly be seen between Knapp’s drawings and Mullican’s work. Just as the American artist orders his universe through the repetition of pictograms, Knapp systematically and meticulously repeats and processes certain themes through his drawings. In this sense, both artists are interested in mapping the universe.