Thursday, April 23, 2009

Photography by Teun Hocks

Teun Hocks is a Dutch born photgrapher/artist born in 1947. Hocks is the star of his own show, as one work makes explicit. Dressed as a ringmaster, he stands next to a large gray letter s and holds a red h in his right hand, balances a yellow o on his head, and holds a blue w in his left hand--a portrait of the artist as jester. Hocks, a sober Dutchman, seems to be praising folly, the folly of both art (works of art as "follies") and life (a funny, daunting business). The ironic spirit and dry wit of Erasmus is clearly alive in his works, which are sometimes bizarrely bright, making the irony all the more incisive, like a surgical slit into everyday life.

What is startling here is the sense of isolation. This is a man who likes his loneliness, however depressing it might be. He doesn't seek others to make him feel better, because he knows there is no feeling better--no way to escape the absurd situation. There's a kind of emotional as well as social nihilism in Hocks's insidious work, a sense of the nothingness of it all, which one can only tolerate with humor.

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