IN CONVERSATION - BENDIX HARMS

The current group exhibition ‘Trust in Mortals’ explores the complexities of the human experience through the eyes of four meticulous and uniquely different observers; from Harms’ steel-like relationships to his subjects and Moritz’s immersive empathy, to the technical constructs of Robles de Medina’s seemingly emblematic paintings and Touborg’s near-futuristic investigations into the relationship between humankind, nature and technology.

To gain some valuable insight into Harm's practice and to get his thoughts on the exhibition, we asked a few questions. The exhibition explores the complexities of the human experience on both a macro and micro level; where do you feel your work fits on this spectrum?

It‘s always both, because they mutually condition each other: All activities have consequences for the whole system. To paint a painting is very similiar to live a whole life on this planet: one wrong brushstroke can destroy the whole painting or put it in a positive way on an unknown level which was unthinkable….FAIL FORWARD is the huge challenge for both: life and art.


How important do you think narrative and context is to the perception of your work?

Smells like a catch-question…..I call myself for a long time a Contentist , because my painted subjects became the decisionsmakers - in relation how to treat them adaquate and how to treat them in relation to the art-history. When all fits, then the subject begins to talk and I become a kind of receiver for their extremely precise orders. This moment is my fuel, because after a short time it seems unachievable for the immediate future. This inability sparks my synapses and my right arm again and again.

Pure paint without a subject looks quickly like decoration… and I must be honest: This world is so overcomplex and delivers so many splendid themes and subjects - it‘s impossible for me to adore a tricky brushstroke or a thick painted dot in the same way: it‘s just a mute and patient material.


Is there a work from another artist in the exhibition that resonates with you and if so, how?

I stumbled over a title of one of Xavier Robles de Medina‘s paintings:

„U.S.ArmyMaj. Gen. Christopher Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, XVIII Airborne Corps, boards a C-17 cargo plane at Hamid Karzai International Airport on Aug. 30 in Kabul, Afghanistan“

This is brutal realism...and it leaves no room for any teacher-like interpretation….this is what I like: to name things.


Should we put our trust in mortals?

I mean: NO…….but - Mephisto from J. W. Goethe‘s Faust means: YES!

In German (sounds better) Ich bin der Geist, der stets verneint! / Und das mit Recht; denn alles, was entsteht, / Ist wert, daß es zugrunde geht; / Drum besser wär's, daß nichts entstünde. / So ist denn alles, was ihr Sünde, / Zerstörung, kurz das Böse nennt, / Mein eigentliches Element.“ ―Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust erster Teil

In English:

“I am the spirit that negates. And rightly so, for all that comes to be Deserves to perish wretchedly;

'Twere better nothing would begin. Thus everything that that your terms, sin, Destruction, evil represent— That is my proper element.” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust - Part One