“Observe the street, from time to time, with some concern for system perhaps. / Apply yourself. Take your time: the terrace of a café near the junction of the Rue de Bac and the Boulevard Saint-Germain / the time: seven o’clock in the evening / the date: 15 Mai 1973 / write down the weather: set fair (...) / Force yourself to write down what is of no interest, what is most obvious, most common, most colourless.” What Georges Perec expressed in words so beautifully in Paris in 1974 (English translation in: Species of Spaces), might also be regarded as a poetic guideline for Eric Hattan’s artistic practice. Eric Hattan is an artist who draws his inspiration from what already exists. What he sees incites him to do something with it. He likes to operate with the smallest possible intervention – he moves, shifts, displaces, and inverts – in order to preserve and stage what he has found. For him, art is not an end in itself; it serves him for showing everyday situations in a new light and thus, it breaks through the purportedly static quality of the kinds of constellations that influence our notion of reality.
On the occasion of Kolumba’s 10th anniversary, Eric Hattan explores the museum before and behind the scenes. It is not so much the architecture he examines, rather for the most part, he sounds out the classification systems and patterns of actions that influence institutions such as art museums and make them thrive. What would happen if one were to turn everything topsy turvy? Eric Hattan takes inventory (Lat. invenire: discover, to come upon, find out); what he discovers and brings together in his work will be transferred back to its original functional context when the exhibition has ended. “There is a contradiction: between my fun with treating the physical material for the realization of a work and the intention of not putting any new thing in the world, but rather only bringing to attention what already exists.” (EH, 1996) Although his work is informed by sculptural issues, its focus lies in the experience of a process oriented to change. It is not the artist who reveals his innermost here as we would normally expect – in this case, it is the patron who takes on this role.
Eric Hattan, b. in 1955 in Wettingen, lives in Basel and Paris. Numerous exhibitions, above all in France, Switzerland, and Germany. Most recently: 2005 Vous êtes chez moi, FRAC Alsace Séléstat; 2011 Schnee bis im Mai, Kunsthalle Nürnberg (together with Silvia Bächli); 2014 Habiter l’inhabituel, FRAC PACA Marseille; 2015 Mitten in Pulheim, Stadtbildintervention Pulheim; 2017 Situer la différence, CCS Paris (together with Silvia Bächli).