Born in Austria, in 1979, Daniel Hafner lives and works in Vienna. His is artistic practice includes various creative fields, ranging from visual art to performance and sound art. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, where he participated in the digital media and art in public space departments.
During numerous years assisting in multi-media artist’s studios – particularly Jörg Schlick and Peter Kogler’s studios – in senior research and production roles, he became an expert in developing unique techniques integral to artist studio practices.
Throughout Hafner’s artistic practice, is the investigation of site-specific and life-science themes – luring participants into a subtle reflection of the variable possibilities of reality.
Selected solo and group exhibitions include: ACF Bratislava, SK; Kunsthalle Košice, SK; Frederick Kiesler Foundation, Vienna, AT; Projektraum Viktor Bucher, AT; Kunsthaus Graz, AT; Akbank Artcenter Istanbul, TK.
I am currently pursuing a study on abstract drawings, which are sketched on a digital drawing pad and then reproduced manually with various drawing and painting implements on paper, glass, textile and synthetics. The investigation and synthesis of modern and traditional techniques requires ample time in a studio environment.
In Triest I would like to refocus on the natural sciences and to resume my serial studies of recent years, the “Mosquito Drawings” which emulate the flight of swarming mosquitoes, the “Air Recordings” which are physical recordings of atmospheric composition, and the “Rain Momentums”, a series of rain snapshots that capture the structure of rain as it meets the ground, a project that I have been pursuing now for over ten years.
The intrigue and aspiration of these projects can only become apparent over time, allowing for the collection of data, documentation and the comparison of works. Any time of day and locality, with its unique micro- and macro-climatic conditions, presents a multitude of variables for these studies.
Period: April – May 2018
Tutor: Giulio Polita
Interlocutors: to be defined.
What’s all this stuff? They forgot to remove the cat bowls before the opening? And what about the car piece? Art or garbage?
The first impression about Daniel Hafner’s exhibition, Crazy Cats, is a sense of disorientation. The gallery space is scattered with strange objects: ruined, dirty, unusual. Gradients of neon colors light up the gallery walls. As one moves closer to the paintings on the walls, the feeling intensifies: the reflections, which we always try to avoid when setting up an exhibition, are the main subjects of his works, together with drawings that rather resemble the doodles of a child than the signs traced by the hand of a painter.
The provocative quality that distinguishes the artistic practice of Daniel Hafner also guides the construction of this exhibition, which stems from the artist-in-residence experience that the Austrian artist lived in Trieste last spring. The two-month stay, made possible with the support of the Province of Styria in the framework of the AiR Trieste program, was the occasion for erratic exploration of the city’s surroundings and the starting point of a conversation involving myself – as the program director and curator of the exhibition – Giulio Polita, a fundamental guide to every meander of the culture of Trieste and beyond, and gallery owner Marco Lorenzetti, always ready to embrace new experiments on topics such as space, territory, perception, representation.
As the result of this long journey, the exhibition presents itself as a perceptive macro- device, a three-dimensional rebus built upon the principles of détournement, physical and semantic displacement, a constant subversion of pre-established categories such as reality and fiction, material and digital, natural and artificial, artistic and not artistic.
The digital paintings on plexiglas urge the viewer to question the nature of what they are observing and attempt to verify their point of observation. The lines interact with the architecture of the exhibition space whose colors recall the gradients present on the walls of the gallery. The latter, in turn, refer to the latest trends on the web in terms of colors. The objects are the result of casual discoveries, as Daniel says, “I found these one, but they could have been others”. They attracted the attention of the artist because they looked somehow out of place, alien to the place where he found them, as well as to an art space: the car piece in a clearing in the woods, the fruit by the roadside, the rubber gasket in the old port. A QR code positioned next to each object projects the viewer outside the exhibition space, through the geolocation of the place where they were recovered.
Every component speaks of displacement, each element induces to take a step forward, backwards, sideways or elsewhere, to hint at the relativity of human perception and of the very nature of the universe we inhabit. Crazy Cats by Daniel Hafner is thought-provoking, and leads to constant questioning … By the way, has anyone seen the cats somewhere?