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Hans in Transition:
Paintings by Hans Scheirl

11 September - 10 October 2004
Fri - Sun 1-6pm
Private View - Friday 10 September 6-9pm


Self Portrait with Glasses

'Whereas a modernist like Barnett Newman could claim,
"We are making [our work] out of ourselves,"
today's painters might with more justice say,
"We make ourselves out of our work."
Barry Schwabsky - Vitamin P - New Perspectives in Painting - Phaidon 2002

No, it is not just the name 'Tansition Gallery' that made me change my mind about what i want to do in my first solo show here. But yes, the name triggered something.

The term 'transition' is used in the transsexual and transgender community for the stretch of time it takes a person to change into the other gender. Now, i'm not going from A to B, but rather zigzagging my way through a large, open space of possibilities.

This space of appropriation, play and experimentation would be virtually non-existent if it wasn't for art and the dynamic between art and the artfulness of living a different life.

While the role of art in my transitioning was obvious in my performance and film work of the 70ies, 80ies + 90ies, i have only very recently started to adress painting's agency, or rather:

my inter-agency with it and its own transitioning

I took up painting in 1995 while the work on >Dandy Dust<, my last movie, ground down to a halt -yet again- due to a lack of funding. Like a manic i started to paint and draw figures; 'hermaphroditic mutants' i call them retrospectively.

1995 was the dragking year. I won the dragking competition at the National Film Theater with a special-effect performance of suicide [+ erection] by hanging. In 1996 i started injecting testosterone. As an experiment.

For 'Hans in Transition' i plan to create a dynamic between self-portraits from that time and my new work which is more abstract, more graphic design- and comix-inspired.

Staging myself as a man and staging myself as a painter is juxtaposed with the splitting up of the idea of 'self' into many trans-human hybrid creatures: animal-bits, plant-bits, a bomb, trans-portation vehicles coupling with re/productive organs: genitals, intestines, uterus, balls, a mouth, coupling with paint, gesture, surface, flatness, the frame, the hanging on the wall.

Identity the dynamic between all the relationships. And as it is a movement and not a thing it is shown to always have a relationship to its own death, loss and becoming something else. That's why i like to play with the idea of 's/hit!'=she+he+it, the hermaphroditic trans-human agency for transformation, the colour brown as a metaphor for mixing as well as the actual outcome of mixing the 3 primary colours.

So i hope that the 'self'-portrait becomes also a portrait of painting it'self' in its trans-human otherness. In the end, the inter-agency that counts will happen with each visitor of the exhibition differently.

Self Portrait in Blue

Drawing No.1
'We are the threshold, the living plane, which on entering
the space of painting, changes everything.
There is painting. There is us. We are trans-formative.
We exist. In whatever shape we happen to be in.
Like painting, we too set in motion
the question of our being here.'

Bernadette Buckley
on Hans Scheirl in the catalogue for
New British Painting, John Hansard Gallery - Southampton 2004
What finally encouraged me to bring this strong autobiographical element into this show (afterall, i would prefer to be a painter and not a transgendered painter!) is because of the spirit that Cathy Lomax and her collaborator Alex Michon are creating with the gallery and with their art; the 'Girl on Girl' show; my involvement with 'Arty' (the fanzine Cathy publishes), especially the 'Girl' issue; Alex's writings, our discussions; and recently Stella Vine's first solo show there. All that made me pick up on that vibe that Alex detects in Stella's work: '...that of not being afraid to reveal an emotional attachment to one's subject matter' Alex Michon, catalogue essay for Stella Vine's Prozac and Private Views, Transition Gallery, June 2004
Hans Scheirl was born in Salzburg, Austria and has been living in London for 14 years. He currently works part-time as a painting restorer.
He made his first super-8 film 'Strassenbilder' ['Images of the Street'] in Vienna in 1979 which won the UNESCO prize at the 'First Austrian Youth Competition'. Between then and 1996 he has made around 50 short super-8 films, among them the classics 'Super-8 Girl Games', 'Zigzagged Rivulet is creeping up shamelessly wetting thighs', '1/2 frogs fuck fast' and 'Summer of 1995'.
In the 90s he made and collaborated on two cinema films 'Flaming Ears' and 'Dandy Dust'. Hans' films have been shown at queer and transgender filmfestivals around the world (including Sao Paolo, Tokyo, Paris, Berlin, Los Angeles, St. Petersburg), art colleges, special events (cyborg + sci-fi related) and many U.S. and European art institutions (including: Museum of Modern Art, N.Y.C.; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Image Forum, Tokyo; Institute for Contemporary Arts, London; Museum of 20th Century, Vienna)
He has been painting since 1995 and has moved towards painting/installation since his M.A. degree show at Central Saint Martins in 2003. In 2003 he participated in 'New British Painting - Part 1' at the John Hansard Gallery, Southampton.
Throughout his life Hans has also worked on and exhibited/published drawings and writings (e.g. 'The manifesto for the dada of the cyborg-embrio', in: 'The Eight Technologies of Otherness' ed/author Sue Golding, Routledge 1997). He features in numerous films (e.g. 'Venus Boys' by Gabriel Baur, 'Pansexual Public Porn' by Del laGrace Volcano, 'The Making of Dandy Dust' by Tina Keane) and photography (Catherine Opie, Los Angeles; Del laGrace Volcano, London; Donna Ferrato, N.Y.C.).

Volcano Picture (detail)

Rabbit Picture (detail)