Raymond Hains (1926–2005) is widely regarded as one of the most important French artists of the second half of the twentieth century. Along the experimental work on photography and film that he first developed in the 40’s and 50’s, Hains is well-known for his affiches lacérées: from 1949, with fellow artist Jacques Villeglé, they started to use found torn posters from the streets in creating hypergraphics and ready-made ‘paintings’. This neo-Dadaist spirit would inform the rest of his career. Often associated with the Nouveau Réalisme (1960), Raymond Hains opened the way to a singular vision of art: he initiated a vocabulary based on literature, philosophy and esotericism, towards linguistic speculations. He constantly created new forms (from the Palissades starting in 1959 to the Sidewalk Sculptures and the Macintoshages – computer-based manipulations from the 90's) through all the poetic, playful and visual possibilities of the language.
‘Raymond Hains is a singular, unclassifiable artist who participated in the key moments of post-war French art without ever fully pausing for very long in of any one of them. Hains’s work explores the world through its underlying linguistic framework, applying himself to the freedom of destruction and reinvention that language itself allows him.
As in the best surrealist tradition, Hains was a flâneur, and the urban derive was an essential method of work for him. The streets were his workshop, and they gave rise to the affiches déchirées (…). With these works, Hains produced a sui generis version of Informalism, and offered an ironic take on Abstract Expressionism, calling himself an “inaction painter”. In 1959, these works led to his palissades, which were also an ironic response to American Pop and a prelude to the conceptual practices of artists such as Daniel Buren.
Defining himself as an inventor rather than an artist, Hains bases his method on deductions and comparisons, starting out from a systematic creative deconstruction of the world around him. (…)
Hains' work transgresses and explodes all of the established theories of contemporary art.’
Catherine Bompuis (curator), Raymond Hains, MACBA, 1999
Galerie Max Hetzler Berlin | Paris | London works in partnership with the Estate of Raymond Hains, represented by Thomas Hains.
Image: Sans titre N° 5D (série Dauphin), 1990, torn posters on metal, 300 x 400 cm.; 118 1/8 x 157 1/2 in.
Galerie Max Hetzler Berlin | Paris / Holzwarth Publications, Berlin 2016
With texts by Jean-Marie Gallais, Hans-Ulrich Obrist and Tacita Dean