jonas hohnke

about the works

catalogue-pdf-download: jonas-hohnke.catalogue.engl.web.2020

Jonas Hohnke apparently feels an urge to go to different places, where he deals with the local circumstances and in – corporates different moments of everyday life in his work process. The everyday and the supposedly inconspicuous are just as much welcome moments as are architectural circumstances, whose banality makes for their invisibility in everyday life, but which Jonas Hohnke, in an ironic manner, moves into the viewing horizon of a – usually rather spoiled – art community. In the process, works are created that for their part absorb and visualise moments of positioning and time. This includes several objects in which he merges the work and its surroundings, so that unrecognizability and visibility only gradually emerge in the course of viewing. For example, in the banal situation between floor and wall, which he photographs in situ and has then printed on canvas in order to finally position the canvases exactly where they were photographed before. In turn, the viewer experiences the irritation that seeks to relate the artefact to reality.
At first, one might think, nothing new is created here, the situation itself seems too ordinary to even pay attention to. Wall corners, walls, stone slabs, concrete floors – all this does not speak of high architectural, let alone aesthetic relevance. In fact, the use, the usefulness, the function of use is expressed in all these motifs. Grey in grey, with few white nuances – one could almost get the impression that Jonas Hohnke’s world is a drab monotony. Instead, however, on closer inspection one will notice that here perception is treated very subtly, and that some of these works, as in mimicry, almost completely assimilate with the real circumstances. Image and reality merge at the level of perception for a few seconds, only to drift apart again. The image becomes necessary in order to consciously perceive reality as such.
This also involves the very moment that is associated with the postioning itself which doesn‘t only apply to the floor works, but also to the prints he created and framed, on which a water level can be seen, remaining straight even when the frame is tilted. Here, too, the constant is the straight line, which can be read like the horizon. Dr. Philipp Horst notes on Hohnke’s works in a plausible way:
“His works also deal with our subjective access to our everyday life – how do we perceive our environment? 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 charge the seemingly trivial everyday item, semantically and aesthetically. The water levels are arranged evenly, the frames, however, pop out of the horizontal plane.”
In a particularly elaborate manner, Jonas Hohnke designed “postcard stands”, in which he exhibited various motifs he had produced himself, the meaningfulness of which was only revealed when they were (and remained) positioned exactly at the point from which the photographic angle for the postcards had been chosen. In this sophisticated process it is precisely here that the artist’s approach virtually shows itself: he does not get involved with the spontaneous or the momentary, but meticulously and painstakingly simulates the situation and produces it in equal measure. Thus, the viewer could, again similar to mimicry, recognize the view of the spatial situation, now sequenced to the format of individual postcards. The image becomes a representative of the spatial situation – also depending on the day – which the viewer experiences both as reality and as a partial image of it. Once again, the doubling of perception succeeds, the sharpening of the view of nuances, of the present, of time and its power of appearance.
None of the works imposes itself; rather, they continue to be surrounded by the aspect of the seemingly random, of the object carelessly positioned there. It is precisely in this, however, that Jonas Hohnke proves to be a subtle, very attentive biographer of the time, in which the sensory overload of the media seems to increasingly negate seeing and perceiving as such. The more the world finds its way into the small format of smartphones, the more it participates in the global events, the more it loses sight of the particular, of reality itself. Time and
space also play a different role there, blurring, as it were, with the virtuality of the cyber worlds.

Prof. Dr. Beate Reifenscheid | Ludwigmuseum Koblenz | Catalogue text ‚aequilibrium vivat‘ | 2019

Jonas Hohnke – Time and everyday life

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

Text | Dr. Philipp Horst



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