The two figures in 1962-1929are portraits of Stefan Hablützel's father and grandfather. They are both depicted at the same age: thirty-one. The title of the piece is therefore radically descriptive: these are the dates when his father and grandfather were that age, as if a kind of time machine had transported the one who was thirty-one in 1962 and the other who was the same age in 1929 and had frozen them facing us. Hablützel has said that the fact that they are relatives is the least of it, that it is merely by chance: "They could be another father and another grandfather. Simply, I had enough material available about these two people. Not even the fact that there was a family tie between them was important for me. They just had to come from different periods: that was the only thing that mattered." And so the important thing is that unreal, impossible coincidence. The whole meaning of the work is concentrated in the title, in the juxtaposition of two realities whose simultaneous presence is highly unlikely. Hablützel is posing a paradox: providing an apparently realistic image which is nevertheless unreal. We cannot get away from the naturalism of the two figures, but neither can we forget the distance that separates them, the lack of unity of time between them. The strangeness or anxiety created by the clash of two dissimilar realities is like a photographic collage. In short, the two figures seem to have been cut out of two photographs and placed on the same plane later. But the photographic reality of 1962-1929is more intense: they are both posing in front of the camera, one looking relaxed, as befits the sixties, and the other striking a reserved, formal attitude. Oddly enough, they are the same height and they are both enlarged, they are bigger than they should be. One last element helps to increase the strangeness of this non-naturalistic naturalism, or unreal realism: the two figures are hanging from the wall, about a foot and a half off the floor. There is no unity of time and nor is there any unity of place, since the figures seem to be "floating" in an area without reference points. As Hablützel himself has said, this is an "invented naturalism". Obviously there is a clash between different realities and different times placed side by side in the same work. But the confrontation Hablützel brings about is more intense: it is a confrontation between the naturalism -or realism- and the verisimilitude of representation. What the artist is throwing doubt upon are the conventions of representation. He plays with them, questions them and shows them up in an image which is both real and false at once. The anxiety the figures arouse is determined by their real, inevitable physical presence and our awareness of their artificiality. In the end, what Hablützel is showing with this "invented naturalism" is the possibility of constructing images which are only possible in art or, vice-versa, artificiality as a characteristic of art.
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