Photographs by Teun Hocks. Essay by Janet Koplos.
96 pp., 50 color and 4 b&w illustrations, 9½x11".
Though Dutch artist Teun Hocks—performer, photographer, painter—is widely
known and shown around the world, this will be his first English-language
book. In it, Hocks plays his signature role, which Janet Koplos describes as
“an innocent Everyman in an always strange and often funny world”, in scenes
that range from burlesque to tragicomic. His lonely Buster Keaton-like persona
perseveres through odd and unforgiving environments, struggling to find
stable ground in an unstable, even absurd, universe. Life’s complications and
challenges take the form of impossible Rube Goldbergian contraptions fraught
with psychological implications. Each engaging image captures one moment
of an implied narrative, triggering questions about how the protagonist ever
got himself into such a fix and what in the world will happen next. Hocks
begins by sketching out various one-man narratives, and then poses himself
in a carefully plotted setup against his own painted backdrop. After photographing
the scene, he paints in oil on top of the resulting oversize gelatin
silver print. In addition to his painted photographs, Teun Hocks includes
drawings, Polaroids and studio shots that illuminate the artist’s creative
process. The wit, elaborate technique and rich colors of Hocks’s images combine
to form an irrepressibly original oeuvre.
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