1 Homo Optimus Maximus, 2010, 93 x 152 x 30 cm, Öl auf modifizierten Gips
2 Puppe, Frau, 2011, 150 x 190 cm, Öl auf Leinwand
3 Homo Optimus 1 und 2, 2010, 66,5 x 103 x 22 cm, Öl auf modifizierten Gips
HAGEN BÄCKER – IMAGES FOR ANIMALS
Hagen Bäcker was born in 1963 in Halle (Saale). This is where he lives and works
as a visual artist and formally trained (MA) metal sculptor. He concentrates on painting,
installations and sculpture. For some years now he has been involved with mass images
taken from the media, mainly in serial work groups. Originals from print and Internet
media serve in each case as both his starting point and a thematic basis stimulating
him to an artistic reformulation.
By using a painted matrix of dots with overlays and coloured shadings he creates
images which are often irritating and as a rule only recognisable at a distance.
Situations involving installations and three-dimensional image extensions are also
formal means with which sculptured and painted objects are created. Specific locations
are often the occasion for Bäcker's interventions and provide the space for them.
In such cases the artist is interested in the possibilities to act in a creative
way outside the gallery or museum context as well and to take direct account of the
location and its possibilities.
In the Halle Mountain Zoo nature and culture intersect. Great pains are taken to
keep the animals in surroundings conforming to the needs of their species and also
to achieve attractive architecture and to breed animals of various species including
those threatened by extinction. Aware of the importance of location Hagen Bäcker
attempts to install his "images for animals" in such a way that their appeal to visitors
seems almost to be an accident.
When during meetings with artist friends prior to the project the title "Art for
Animals" came to be adopted the general reception was enthusiastic as it seemed to
be just right for Halle Zoo's "profile". Taking Art for Animals seriously as a project
required at the beginning some effort but it was just this effort which gave Bäcker
the impetus to develop and realise his ideas.
It is usually human beings who observe the animals in a zoo and their supposedly
characteristic behaviour, but Bäcker intends to reverse the situation. He confronts
the animals with images depicting typical human situations and the values some of
these situations reflect. To this end he has installed directly in front of or behind
the compounds five glass paintings that can be seen from both sides and are framed
in the traditional way. In this way the zoo visitors will have to put themselves
into the position of the animals as they look at both the pictures and the visitors.