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Hanjo Schmidt
About this artwork
acrylic on canvas
h.160cm w.160cm d.0cm
Jan 2010

Hanjo's Description: something for the eyes

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2009-10-25 19:56

Is everybody asleep in this web? dead? I haven’t read an interesting comment in months, nothing….. I mean I know that two or three of the usual writers have good reasons for not doing it, (including myself) but is it all sustained by four or five persons?? No one else has anything to say? Are you all mute?? I think the act of commenting a work of art is a healthy exercise for it forces you to forget your own work and try to understand other’s, understand or judge or dislike or whatever, or just look at it for more than say.. 10 seconds. Are we all, artists, (whatever that word really means..) so self-centered?

When I saw that Hanjo had posted this painting I waited to see if it made anyone react, positive or negatively, but it was just lost in the usual silence. Of course there are things in Art Process that have to be received with silence, (that’s the best one can give them!), just out of pure respect and tact for others, but this is not the case. At least for me, the painting was worth stopping and looking at it more than twice. Even though the nude can be perfectly read, the fetal crouched body has an animal character about it. Helpless, exposed, as a piece of meat, it’s protruding ankles are painfully red, as if stripped of their skin. Their rigid posture sticking out from the soft body reminded me of a slaughterhouse. Something has occurred , and the viewer is the only witness in the scene, for there seems to be no other way out, the only witness or maybe the only executioner. Maybe this possibility, as absurd and unreal as it can be, is the reason of the unpleasant uneasiness it left in my nerves. It is not an easy painting, just show it around and see the reactions. But for sure it is not a painting that can be ignored.

2009-11-06 11:06

When I met Maria the other week at her studio-log she said something about application of paint like that she found out a new method of doing it. But for it’s not possible to ask on studio-log what she meant with this remark I still wonder what funny things she has found out. Does it mean that she now uses her fingers instead of brushes? Or Spatulas? Or does she do it like Mr. Pollock? No no no you can forget about that. Thanks heaven that would not work with Maria. Or is she going to nail the paint onto the canvas or does she use tape? Ever since I cannot think of anything else.

Well, but this is not the reason I’m writing here. It has been sooo silence for weeks or even month that I thought there must be something wrong with my ears. And indeed people had to repeat what they said to me very often and the words I used over the day were mostly „I beg your pardon“ and „what did you say“? So finally I got a hearing aid, one for each ear (very very expensive oh oh). Okay, so when I left the shop where I got them I was shocked about how loud the world actually was. Such an incredible noise. Well but now I’m sitting here in front of my computer hacking this in to test the new equipment. Maybe, so I do hope, maybe I can hear some faint murmuring at least. Maybe I even can understand some words. I mean these hearing aids are absolutely state of the arts ... I swear (or can see it on the bill) so there must be something to detect with them. But to be honest until now I haven’t been successful, not at all. Okay, I know that many people have lots of problems at the moment, financial, psychological, artistic etc. etc. and they might not be in the right mood of talking so much, with me included, but I thought that maybe at least I could make out some faint groaning or wailing ...

On the other hand, could it be possible that this website got transmogrified into some mole world? And everyone is silently digging through the place sniffing at this, nibbling at that, but pssssst no word not even a tone. Just shuffling through the dark tunnels blind and mute ... not such a nice idea isn’t it?

Or what would be worse in times where enlightment bashing seems to come more and more into fashion and people turn to questionable sects instead or even the traditional churches. Perhaps this site turned into a monastery without letting me know. A Trappist cloister where it’s absolutely forbidden by punishment of eternal burning in hell to say anything. So I really do hope that we are not trapped in what one could call the Trappist order of St Artprocess.

2009-11-06 17:54

I actually had to look up the word transmogrified,now I know it.Like most people I have been looking in on AP but time is short and my mind has been wondering,too difficult to focus.I was taken back by the force of your comment Karen but people can look at works they admire again and again in silence.This piece by Hanjo is so eloquent that I am at a loss for words to comment upon it.
So here I am murmuring Hanjo in fright while staring at the red blood heels of your figure.

2009-11-06 20:40

There was one more painting uploaded between this and the triptych (or was it after this?). What happened to it?

2009-11-06 20:48

The painting you mentioned was taken away for I wasn’t satisfied with it. So it’s a candidate for to be painted over.

2009-11-06 21:11

No... I would be disapointed. Actually, for some reason I don't remember well I liked it more than this one.

2009-11-06 21:34

Of course, Fotini, we all look in silence again and again, but this web was different because there was a REAL communication between some artists , … and although I have to say that I miss some in particular, I have to admit that I kind of like the idea of forming part of the Trappist Order of St. Artprocess, I can imagine myself wondering through its cloisters talking soto voce about this or that painting, under the great excitement of being in danger of eternal burning with other colleagues… let's create the order!

2009-11-06 22:25

Mmmmm I like this little mole gathering indeed I do. And I like that Fotini came along, too. Well Maria, you are not the only one, absolutely not but ... I’m the artist and I can’t help to be a very brutal guy and absolutely without any mercy with paintings I am not satisfied with. On the other hand you have a mighty companion, my wife! So I will give it a chance and at least postpone that act of destruction. Maybe I’ll even send you a high resolution image of the delinquent in an e-mail so you can study carefully what’s wrong with it.
Oh oh Karen, seems that you are a very naughty girl aren’t you? Playing with hellfire ts ts ts. That I guess must be your Spanish temperament. But let me think it over and perhaps I’ll have a brief correspondence with Mr. Rat, the present pope, in our Bavarian dialect, making sure that hellfire is guaranteed so you can have the thrill you need.

2009-11-06 22:33

Oh yes, I forgot to say hello to J-P who ... I’m quite sure ... is peeping from behind the curtain. And I have to say that I liked your postcard a lot and am pondering on if I should have this kind of Irish breakfast you proposed. But to be honest I should have it together with you. So I have to find a way of making that possible. And by the way ... my wife likes your work! Isn’t that good news?

2009-11-07 15:56

So, where is this high resolution image? May I have it please?

2009-11-07 19:59

I'm so glad that you have broken your vow of silence, especially because although some of us are silent, we like to listen.

The other day I read a few words of Richter I would like to share with you although I´m sure you already know them:

"One has to believe in what one is doing, one has to commit oneself inwardly, in order to do painting. Once obsessed, one ultimately carries it to the point of believing that one might change human beings through painting. But if one lacks this passionate commitment, there is nothing left to do. Then it is best to leave it alone. For basically painting is idiocy. "

But also I think it is very important to communicate with those who feel the same passion...So welcome to the order of St. ArtProcess!

2009-11-07 19:59

I'm afraid brother Hanjo has retired to his room, probably to meditate why his bright red heels are frequently read as bloody heels, (I thought the same thing), or maybe the hearing aids are not that good after all……(by the way when are you going to tell us about your discoveries María?)

2009-11-07 21:06

Psssssst Brothers and Sisters (whisper whisper) I had to read philosophical texts all day long, Adorno, Foucault, Deleuze, Flusser and got so angry and upset that I had to cool down in my beloved bathtub. It sounds crazy but indeed you can cool down in hot water, really and truly! Now, five minutes ago, I climbed out of it and now my bloodpressure is very low so I have to sit down. Well, I do like that there is another spanish artist around even though the name is pretty much cryptic (but why not have a cryptic name in the vicinity of a crypta).
Well, but what you have quoted about passion and commitment is absolutely true. Otherwise one ends up with „kreissparkassentauglicher Kunst“ what means art that fits into a regional savings bank. And isn’t it funny what loooong words we can build in German? But in the end it’s shorter than the English sentence. Okay guys, I have to sleep a bit (let’s call it „meditate“ that sounds better in a monastery).

2009-11-08 17:44

Okay, back to seriousness. Of course it doesn’t matter for an artist if someone „likes“ her painting or not. It might be nice to hear such a thing from someone that is dear to her and it even might be encouraging, but in the end she has to follow her intention and has to be very strict as well. No favours and no compromises!
In the recent four paintings, beginning with „Threefold Black“ I tried to depict the body as a very vulnerable and therefore very precious container. And this body-container is in a state of retraction, the way many animals do. Hedgehogs for example or spiders both making a ball out of themselves when trying to protect their body.
Becoming older it seems to me that when you should describe a young body it would be all about movement, speed, strength etc. and all of it shown and concentrated in the extemities, strong and taut and beautiful and full of energy. In contrast the old body, I have the feeling, is concentrated in the torso. Arms and legs become more and more weak and thin, ugly and immovable. The trunk increases in volume and weight and sometimes it’s difficult to balance and carry it through the day. Life seems to concentrate in that trunk, in that container. Whereas arms and legs seem to be mere mechanical structures to move or lift this container, the trunk itself gives the impression of a kind of balloon. An envelope filled with liquids of different kind with a tendency of becoming shapeless. An object resembling the look of the intestines, soft and full. And obviously the skin of this envelope is very much in danger of being pierced and all that liquid runs out. The liquid that contains your life. So you have to shield it with a barrier out of arms and legs.
So this may explain why I am satisfied with a painting like „Reverse“ and not at all satisfied with a painting like „Curtain“ which in my opinion has not much to do with all this and is just something like a costume party.

2009-11-08 19:58

what interests me about this painting and I find daring is all the black space ,heavy,weighing upon the figure,the mass of the body,which if you look at it quickly have to think''what is this?'' and then you see the feet.the negative playing against the positive shape ,the economy in color,the light blues whispering on the trunk of the body,the brightness of the skin are some of the things I look at when I look at the painting.

2009-11-08 20:37

I apologize for making use of philosophical words –I see that nothing, as cryptic as it might be, escapes the Abbot.
Long time ago philosophers also warmed my mind and I had to use hot water ... to free myself??!

Today I read Baudrillard when he says that "we see Art proliferate everywhere, and even faster on Art discourse. But in its own genius, its adventure, its power of illusion, its ability of denial of reality and of opposing reality with another scenario in which things obey a superior rule; a transcendent figure in which beings, as lines and colours on a canvas, could lose their meaning, and surpass or exceed their own end and in an impulse of seduction, attain its own ideal form, even at risk of their own destruction, in this sense, I say, Art has disappeared"…

…and I don’t even feel like ranting against it, as Hughes does. I just feel that I have nothing to do with it.

Now that I think I'm cured, I see philosophy as a large garden in which you will always find deadly herbs, but also the healthiest ones to cure any illness. So I choose the words of an apocryphal Nietzsche, when he says: "The great aim of art is to shake the imagination with the strength of a soul that does not admit defeat even in the midst of a collapsing world."
Benjamin said "the intention kills truth" and therefore I return to painting that is my truth and I apologize again for the philosophical wordiness.

I think it does not matter if the red heels look like blood -would be worse if it were interpreted as red socks :). In fact this picture immediately reminded me of the famous bloody head by Jenny Saville. However, I believe that there is too much red in that area, what could break the composition.

However I must say that I really like this painting.

2010-02-27 20:58

What has become strange is art. And it might be harder than ever to define what art really is. But what one can definitely say is that painting has gone, for painting is much much more than adding some paint to a canvas. Saint Sorolla knows what I am talking about. And next time in Madrid I will sacrifice my tears at his altar. . .

2011-04-26 15:02

Dear Hanjo
Look at exactly the same painting. Very warm and cheerful colors (red and purple) and cold colors (blue). What these colors with a thought or idea is put on the figure?

It is better to write clearly. I'm in love with these paintings.

2011-04-26 16:19

Well, the most primitive view is to think people have black or white skin. That is ideology. An superficial view is that skin looks brown or rosy. One has to take some time and really look at skin. Then you will see that there are all hues of colour in it. So what I do is just to make this a little bit more visible.

2011-04-26 16:30

Excellent. Thank you from the description ..
Time to end months of my university semester exam.I Much like a large figure do painting .

2011-05-24 07:30

Bacon again?

2011-11-05 09:11

Well, some weeks ago I got this letter from an art critic from Pasadena, California, that I thought might be of some interest for some more people as myself. So I want to use this beautiful but unfortunately seldom used forum to show the letter around. Here it comes:

Dear Hanjo,
I feel so very strongly about your work that I would be happy to simply give you my critical opinions. I am working on a concept for a book I would like to present to the publisher - a book I have been wanting to write for some time now and I want to make you a significant part of that book,so committing my thoughts to paper would be a running start on that. I'm deeply interested in the way you and other artists approach the integument - in a way that honors the passage of time yet makes the body sensuous in its own corpulent, sagging way. I am so tired to seeing the models as anorexic, or overwrought muscular beings - that seems artificial and something that must be constantly tended and altered by diet and lotions/potions, gym work, cosmetic surgical alteration. I believe beauty comes with a sense of history, that time massages the harsh corners into soft and voluptuous curves. That 'flawless complexions' look like mannequin droids - no sense of the patina age embraces the skin the body, the soul, the psychology of what the world looks like through learned, if somewhat wrinkled and weakened eyes. Your paintings to me share those fleeting moments of angst that flitter past our eyes, forcing us to cope, and eventually allowing us to accept that life is a circle from birth to death. Babies are basically fatty blobs of indeterminate tissue with innocent but uninformed faces - faces and extremity movements that are searching for definement, for mature genetic form.
Somewhere in the middle of that circle we become youth and then young adult 'beauties', receptacles for attracting and procreating: the hormone levels falter and age and experience and simply time prefers gravity to dance. What you have found is a manner in which to view the generosity of individualism, the wear and tear of getting past young adult with all the life bruises that journey creates. Youths and young adults may look at us in our fifties, sixties, seventies and feel repulsion - knowing that this is their own destiny, a destiny they view as wretched, ugly, disgusting and for many of them in their monomaniacal way, avoidable (miracle drugs, surgical excisions, combating the thinning of the epidermis and dermis and erasing the dyschromia that the sun that once gave them elegant tanned bodies to love leaves them with blotches and actinic cum senile keratoses). I see in your paintings not containers of tissue but monuments of life experience. Who is to decide that 'Rosemary and Thyme' are not beautiful women, unafraid to allow us to see their entire bodies. 'Threefold Black' is so rich in tangible tactile flesh that makes me want to be held by this person. I absolutely LOVE with great passion your painting 'Arms and Legs' - I have never seen a painting that so beautifully expresses the passion of intercourse - the bodies are like one octipoid mass of sexual lust and satisfaction, so intertwined and so much a part of the bliss of sex that the two are like one noisy sweaty space-defying driven animal. I love 'Transport', and 'Fermata', paintings that honor the way the unhurried eye perceives the totality of a body, gradually and sensually, and the colors of the flesh you paint here are thunderously dramatic and rushing with blood, trying hard to do what once was a simple movement until gravity and the cascade of corpulence reminded (or forced) us to be slow. 'Lateral' is another painting that allows my eyes to explore the tones and torsions of skin distended by light striking a bald head, a submental space that is full of extra shadow from time (and the incidental glory of the use of a green background that offers such resonating reflections and absorptions of the shadow of the head. 'Swirl' is such a magnificent composition, one that divides the background in a sort of homage to Francis Bacon but is the setting for what feels to me like a man sliding/?pushed? along a slick surface, the added corpulence not an impediment to the action.
And yet while I love the older model paintings I find the painting of 'Red Bucket Watching' and 'Lisa' that to me represent that turning point of the young adult before morphing into the complexities of age. One of the major things that draws me to your painting is the size of the paintings. They are enormous when I see the photos of you standing by them - as in 'Inbetween' et al. For the rest of my response I must say that much of it s simply visceral. I want to stand in front of these paintings, not moving, for hours on end and drink in all the glory of pigment and brush technique and agony and ecstasy. Sometimes verbal responses to paintings take months to develop - first they must be incorporated into the psyche where they will take up permanent residence and then find their way into cerebral pathways that can be expressed.
At this point in time I can only say that I love your art. In time I'll be able to put that visceral response into better words. I hope I have offered you something in this missive.

2011-11-06 22:49

Thanks for posting that here Hanjo. I'm sure I represent all at ap who know you, to say how happy I am that you receive such well-merited recognition, and hope that the writer succeeds with his plan for eventual publication.


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