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05 Jul 2008

Room for Thought: Alexander Hahn and Yves Netzhammer

Yves Netzhammer, Furniture of Proportions (preparatory sketch), 2008; Courtesy the artist and Galerie Anita Beckers, Frankfurt, Germany; © 2008 Yves Netzhammer

Room for Thought: Alexander Hahn and Yves Netzhammer


July 10 through October 5, 2008

Contact (press only)

San Francisco
Museum of Modern Art
151 Third Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

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Room for Thought pairs two computer-generated video installations by Swiss artists Alexander Hahn and Yves Netzhammer that reveal a fascination with internal landscapes of the mind. Hahn's single-channel, interactive video projection Luminous Point (2006) allows the viewer to take a self-guided tour of a virtual simulation of the artist's Manhattan apartment, using a remote control to navigate a gamelike labyrinth of spaces derived from digital manipulations of photographic and filmic records. Where Hahn's hybrid space incorporates images of the real world, Netzhammer presents a poetic world of pure invention. Premiering at SFMOMA, his new three-channel, site-specific installation Furniture of Proportions (2008) incorporates highly stylized wall drawings, animation, and sculptural objects to create an intricate spatial narrative.

Organized by Rudolf Frieling, SFMOMA's curator of media arts, the exhibition occupies adjacent galleries and represents two generations of artists who have consciously worked with the computer as a formal artistic tool and means of expression. Both Hahn and Netzhammer combine a variety of traditional media with computer techniques in order to articulate a deep concern with the histories of philosophy and art. The artists also share an interest in human thought processes and the interplay between external images in the world and internal images in the mind. Undertaken as an open-ended investigation, their art is concerned with transience and states of change, and deals in surrealistic effects, associative thinking, and temporal multiplicity.

Alexander Hahn
Hahn (born 1954) is widely regarded as a pioneer of new media. His experiments with digitally reworked animations combine documentary film and video, photography, and computer-generated imagery, conflating reality and fantasy. Filled with associative, often cyclical image-streams, his work generally revolves around problems of representation—specifically rules governing individual and collective memory—and raises questions about what it means to perceive, store, and recollect visual knowledge in both time and space.

Yves Netzhammer
Zurich-based artist Netzhammer (born 1970) has become known for his graphically dynamic drawings, animations, and sculptural installations that explore the interconnectedness of things. Dealing in extremely reduced forms, his mainly figurative imagery intentionally blurs the hierarchy among humans, animals, plants, and iconic objects. This abstract pictorial lexicon—or, 'thought-imagery' to use the artist's term—functions more akin to a system of encoded signs that, uprooted from reason and familiar context, stand in opposition to the world of everyday images.

Room for Thought: Alexander Hahn and Yves Netzhammer is organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Support for this exhibition is provided by Pro Helvetia, Swiss Arts Council.