jonas hohnke

about the works

Text by Dr. Philipp Horst

Time and everyday life – these are the basic components of Jonas Hohnke’s work. This, at first, is not tangible and herein lies the quality of the approach. The two conceptual building blocks are represented, either physically or medially, in different ways by items which we all know and use. The materiality is not an attempt to upgrade the artistic idea. It is of minor, metaphorical importance. Charcoal sacks, towels, boards. A simple water level becomes a symbol of everyday life, providing a clear orientation for our life in its continuous presence and temporal linearity.

His works also deal with our subjective access to our everyday life – how do we perceive our environment. The object itself – the water level – is not shown directly, but (re-)presented in the form of an image, printed. The content-related, artistic meaning of his works lies both in the object itself, as well as in the context of its use. Both aspects load the seemingly trivial everyday item, semantically and aesthetically. The water levels are arranged evenly, the frames, however, pop out of the horizontal plane.

Jonas Hohnke tunes in to processes of everyday life and documents them in an artistic fashion. Raindrops fall onto a piece of paper and take on a colour. Through the collection and preservation of traces, the occurrences and processes of our present are conserved and made tangible in a different context. He hence uses the field of discourse of art in order to open up new perspectives – on a corner, on a wall, or even on raindrops. They spread out by themselves and therefore art considers them gestural, minimalistic, pictorial, abstract… whereas in everyday life they are only raindrops.


raintings, rain and water colour on paper, each 18×24 cm (framed), 2015

Hohnke’s art centres around the concept of readymades. The first readymades have, among other things, revealed how art is defined, and by whom. Hohnke’s intention is not so much to reveal hegemonic structures, which is of secondary importance; rather, he is a sensitive observer of the present and boils down his experiences to condensed images. He finds them in items we all know. In one installation, colourful towels hang on a wall. They are not ennobled by any bronze casting; everything man-made can successfully be used in a work of art, or be perceived as such. A towel has a visual and sculptural quality by itself. By lining them up, patterns and a space of astonishing intensity emerge.

But when is an item a work of art and originating from what kind of context can something become art? Object, recipient and context are constantly renegotiated in Hohnke’s work, his artistic strategy is as irritating as it is alluring. His works sensitise us to the poetics of everyday life.

Jonas Hohnke – Time and everyday life


untitled (w/w), each 40×50 cm (framed), 2015