Art and the Environment: Christian Hahn

Davos, 28 January -- World Leaders Announce Concrete Plan to Eliminate Dependence on Petroleum Fuel by 2010. Following the excellent leadership set by Sweden, the Davos work group issued this statement: "We are letting a valuable resource go up in smoke. Today, we have set a course to preserve petroleum for raw material use only, to retain it's value for medical plastics and products that will allow the next generations to maintain the standard of living we appreciate today." Okay, we admit it is not true. We dreamed of writing this article today, but since the news out of Davos is nowhere near as exciting as that, instead we offer a tip on an artist who conveys very emotionally the question of whether man and technology are curse or cure for what ails our environment.

Paintings of Christian Hahn are currently on exhibit at the Galerie Nord in Berlin. Christian Hahn's paintings commonly depict people from many walks of life painted in realistic detail against an abstract--often psychedelic-- background suggesting the environment. The juxtaposition of the two techniques makes it clear that the men and their surroundings are of very different natures. And no matter how close you look, the question is left open: are these doctors, firefighters or welders fixing a problem? Or creating one?

Even when the theme is not so evident, for example polar bears in a snowball fight, the contrast of image and imagination convey an uncanny sense of discomfort, of the dislocation of nature in a modern world. See more work by Christian Hahn at his website, Christian Hahn.

And hey, this one's going out for you guys watching the snowbunnies in Davos: maybe you should meditate on a piece by Christian Hahn while you consider how to tip the balance of man's impact from curse to cure.