The Right Angle as a Socio-Political Art Concept
The work of Dieter Hacker is characterized by an extraordinary versatility. As a student of the Geitlinger class at the Munich Academy in the 1960s, he begins with analytical and kinetic work. At this time, Hacker’s art is greatly influenced by the discourse of the artist movement NEUE TENDENZEN. His first gallerist Lucio Amelio has shown his work 1967 in Naples, nearly 50 years later DIEHL CUBE presents objects from this series. In the late 1960s and the 1970s, Hacker is one of the leading representatives of political art in Germany. Then again, in the 1980s Hacker becomes famous as a painter in the context of the Jungen Wilden [young savages]. In the face of this wealth of apparently very different artistic approaches, the question of connecting elements arises, of a golden thread that runs through Haåker‘s work. The exhibition title‚“Der rechte Winkel in mir‘‘ [the right angle within me] offers a first hint, used on the occasion of a speech that Dieter Hacker held in 2006 at the symposium for the exhibition “Die Neuen Tendenzen‘‘. So what constitutes the right angle in Dieter Hacker and how does it manifest itself in his work and his understanding of art?
In his first work phase, Dieter Hacker works with geometric bodies aimed at triggering simple yet fundamental processes of perception and experience in the viewers. A small black cubic block – indeed an homage to Malevich‘s black square – can be experienced as a body in space and can be held in hand as an actual object. The work “Ensemble mit weißen Körpern‘‘ [ensemble with white bodies], lets the viewer put together pairs from a stack of white rectangular bodies and develop a feeling for their size and weight. The vocabulary of geometric forms in concrete art is de-hierarchized and in fact is passed on directly to the viewer. Hacker develops objects that are set up like laboratory experiments, aimed at gathering objective knowledge about sensual perception together with the viewer. So it is no longer the artist alone who determines what the proper proportions between two geometrical objects can be. Hacker increases his scientific approach with the statistical evaluation of the recipients’ estimations of the apparent motion in the “Neckersche Würfel” [Necker Cubes]. The aesthetic effect is determined and objectified by questioning the viewers in a field trial. Here, Hacker brings the idea of viewer participation in the artwork to bear that characterized many works of the NEUE TENDENZEN artist movement and exercises utmost restraint as the artist. The radical reduction of artistic resources goes hand in hand with the rejection of a construction or composition by the artist – which could possibly be criticized as subjective. The work becomes “radically transparent”, since it never attains a final form while claiming scientific objectivity as an analytical experimental setup. Interviewing the recipients aims to make the act of composition systematic and therefore predictable.
Interactive Art and the EFFEKT Group
In 1965, Hacker founded the EFFEKT group together with his fellow students Helge Sommerrock, Karl Reinhartz and Walter Zehringer. In their manifesto, the EFFEKT group calls for a new kind of exhibition and a new understanding of art. Art should – as the name EFFEKT implies – woo the viewers with their visual impact. The artist’s individual artwork is now of secondary importance and is replaced by spatial installations that are based on a variety of kinetic effects and usually are devised collectively by the artist group. The exhibitions should leave established institutions like galleries and museums for more public spaces. With this critique of institutions and actors in the art establishment, the EFFEKT group is not alone in the NEUEN TENDENZEN movement. The Paris group GRAV tries to confront the wider public with their art in street actions and has a distanced attitude toward museums and galleries. The role of the art market is generally seen critically by NEUEN TENDENZEN artists.
NEUEN TENDENZEN art had great socio-political aspirations. Especially by involving viewers and inviting them to play, the artists wanted to change and democratize society with their works, and break up fossilized thinking. With the student movement, political and social reality had overtaken this artistic approach. The changes in society that should be effected through art had already been set in motion and were being fought for in the street. More than others, the artists of the EFFEKT group readily suffered the consequences. Helge Sommerrock and Walter Zehringer exited their artist careers to become active politically. Dieter Hacker became a political artist.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a booklet.