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ON THE DEATH OF BLALLA W. HALLMANN
By Matthias Reichelt
On July 7th 1997 to Konkret-Redaktion by Fax

Blalla W. Hallmann, one of the most provocative German artists, is dead. Born in 1941 in Quirl, Silesia, Blalla W. Hallmann last lived in Windsbach near Nuremberg. After attending the "Hochschule für bildende Kunst" in Düsseldorf in 1957/58 and the "Akademie der bildende Künste" in 1960-65, he founded the "Hoffmanns Comic Teater" together with Rio Reiser and his brothers, with whom he performed AgitProp pieces in Bavaria and later in West Berlin. He polarized the German art scene with his work like hardly any other visual artist. Hallmann's radical and uncompromising attitude towards church, state, bigotry and mendacity was expressed in his opulent colorful tableaus, reliefs, graphics and objects. Often the presentation of his work drew steps from public administrations and even led to action by the public prosecutor's office. In 1992, his largest monographic exhibition by the "Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst" in Berlin, under pressure from the public administration, had to be marked with a sign forbidding children to enter without the accompaniment of parents. In 1996, another extensive exhibition by the "Museum Ostdeutsche Galerie" in Regensburg led to the dismissal of the director. Because of his explosive themes, the plump figurativeness and the depiction of identifiable public figures in wild scenes of copulation, the institutionalized art establishment - completely corrupt and mendacious - kept him out. Thus he will not be represented in the exhibition "Deutschlandbilder" ("Images of Germany") planned for September of this year by the "Museum Educational Service" in Berlin, although no one would be as predestined for this subject as Hallmann.All his life he has worked his way through this unspeakable Germany with its large-scale imperial desires. While it is allowed to fuck on old channels, the painted blow jobs of Blalla W. Hallmann suddenly become the incarnation of the obscene. Blalla W. Hallmann's large CEvre, however, also contained a poetic power praised by many contemporary artists. On large canvases he unfolded his cruel world theater as a kind of modern Hieronymus Bosch. A special focus was his preoccupation with German fascism and its mental effects, the continuity of which Hallmann saw until today. Although he struck increasingly pessimistic chords in his paintings and was a true misanthrope, his visionary poetic power remained undiminished. In his complex vision, which knew no hope, he castigated colonialism, racism and imperialism. These themes became so interwoven that they can confidently be called a modern version of Dante's Inferno. Nevertheless, and this is also an important aspect of Hallmann's work, he has retained a humor all of his own, which, of course, often leads to sarcasm and cynicism, with the result that laughter gets stuck in your throat. The only thing that Blalla W. Hallmann offers against the desolation of existence is precisely this at least mentally liberating laughter, not exactly the worst of all revolutionary weapons.

His personal world theater has come to an end: Blalla W. Hallmann died of cancer on July 2, 1997.

NOTE: Dear Rayk Wieland, as announced, I am sending you a short article on the death of Blalla W. Hallmann, of whom, by the way, some pictures are still on display at the Erotic Art Museum in Hamburg until September 27. In the hurry before my departure for the funeral, I unfortunately could not find the Konkret, in which a picture, "Her most beautiful day" with accompanying text was printed. But you should be able to find it, I think it was 1994.

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