VSG-Gruppe, 2015 | Photo: © Andrea Rossetti, Courtesy: the artist and Johnen Galerie, Berlin
Often drawing on childhood memories, Martin Honert’s elaborately staged three-dimensional works combine the contradictory associations one has with the curious gaze of a child, which in turn, can be innocent, knowing, and relentlessly unflinching. In this sense, the works are hybrids, created by a child and a man. To paraphrase the artist: the works are made by ‘an adult in the service of the child’ that he once was. Honert appears to look at that boy’s experiences with a similar sense of wonder, externalizing and staging them to better examine their significance.
The distortions of scale and elisions of detail point to an unreliable narration and a bias of memory. The works resolutely call into question any claim to verisimilitude, opting instead for an emotional truth. The sculptures of objects or figures then aren’t representations, but rather are akin to recaptured impressions. When the artist has drawn on old photographs, the excised figures retain the appearance of the vintage image with its faded and grainy resolution. Their emotional presence seems suspended in the split between how they loomed in the child’s experience, were remembered by the adult, and recreated by the artist’s grown-up self.