This is a picture no one painted: the artist presents a found piece of reality, fixed to a canvas. It is an advertising surface whose layers of ads have been ripped open by some anonymous person. The result is a combination of dirty patches of colour, bits of text, and a fragment of a concrete figure: a leg lifted in a kick (“Coup de Pied”). The meaningless overlapping of images and texts could be a reference to the stimulus-satiated, often fragmentary modern-day present.
With his “décollage” technique, Hains challenged the classical panel painting, for his method combines the artist’s deliberate choice with the principle of chance, and thus continues the tradition of painting with new means. He was not alone in this approach. Like Yves Klein, Jean Tinguely and Daniel Spoerri, Hains was one of the “Nouveaux Réalistes”, a group founded in 1960. Drawing from Dada and Surrealism, its members vehemently rejected non-representational art and developed a pictorial concept of their own, expanding on the classical panel painting. Uncompromisingly, the “New Realists” took their cue from reality and everyday life as their artistic material as well as their artistic content.
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018