Christophe Hohler was born in Basel, Switzerland in 1961. He now works and lives in Neuwiller, France. He studied at Basel’s Fine Arts School in engraving, then at Strasbourg’s Art School.
Is a contemporary artist able to choose to devote himself to painting, excluding all the other aesthetic practices? For some art critics, painting represents a backward-looking way of expression.
Christophe Hohler deliberately adds his artistic proposition with this medium and, compared to the artists who use photography, installation and assembling, he claims a place as relevant as the other contemporary mediums to product. His work appeals to the still picture. Using the pictorial medium, he is among the artists who do not wonder anymore about the presence or the absence of the figure in his work.
The first interpretation of the work of Christophe Hohler reveals to us his preoccupation: the representation of the body.
Throughout this representation – frontal, in profile, three quarters, from the back -, he brings us from a coloured figure to another, towards a more self-sufficient pictorial subject, going towards a duality between shadow and light.
After this first observation, a second element emerges: the relationship between the subject and its frame, the one between the figure and the size, where there is a dialog between the way the artist wants to show the body and the support he chooses.
Christophe Hohler uses a process of series of upright positions – men or women. The bodies fully upright on the canvas; they laterally play with the edges so as to emphasize the presence, then the frame. The different positions evoke the movement or the stability.
After the observation of the figures and the sizes, we are attracted by the colour. It composes and brings to life the masculine or feminine figures, as well as the accessories: eyeglasses, hats, and books.
It also illuminates the background, through fast and vigorous scanning, or through smooth runoff. In some backgrounds, some lines evocate elements other than the represented figures: an open space where we can see a bed, a floor, a window, a mirror… From a canvas to another, the predominant colour can go through all the contrasts, tending to be monochrome.
Now, Christophe Hohler’s way of painting testifies to his personal progression, which is now located on the canvas. He leaves the anatomical reality to its side, evocating the nudity more than showing it. He suggests the represented behaviours: wait, meditation, observation, walking, reading… Thus he puts in the background the figure in favour of the only pictorial fact. Now his intention is to show a concise painting: the one where colours and substances almost erase the subject.