Harry Hachmeister & Jonas Monka: Someone like me

02 September – 14 October 2023

The title of the new exhibition by Harry Hachmeister and Jonas Monka is borrowed from a text by Lou Soullivan: “I wanna look like what I am but don’t know what someone like me looks like”. The exhibition „Someone like me“ raises questions not only to what we see, but also to ourselves. Who am I in relation to another person? How different and how similar?

Hachmeister and Monka devote themselves to the human and non-human body. Hachmeister works intuitively and lets his figures develop in space. Continuously, new forms emerge, in which something of him can always be found. The artist has been working with ceramics for a few years. In his residency at the EKWC, he now developed a new formal language. The objects are no longer completely glazed, but narrate the process of creation. 

Jonas Monka works strongly conceptually. “Time Recording Equipment” is an ongoing archive of his own body imprints in clay. At the same time, it documents the touch between clay and skin. In this way, the concept of the archive is also questioned. The colorfulness of the objects brings them back into the now, as it always exists uniquely in the moment, depending on the viewing angle and the incidence of light. 

The objects of both artists playfully cross borders, unite opposites, refer to their process of creation and thus lead us to the absurdity of binary ways of thinking.

„Someone like me” also opens up the question about the „me” in itself. The works show one thing above all: the “me” as such does not exist. It is always in transition and in movement towards itself; it is precisely this fluidity that allows tension to arise in the first place. Hachmeister’s works are marked by this ambiguity. His cats and plates are always both two- and three-dimensional. Where Hachmeister makes the different into one, Monka shows the different in one, as for example in the series of works “Clayfuckin”, consisting of six imprints of his vulva, which altogether show the course of an orgasm. The exhibition shows one of these prints as a photograph. The high-resolution photo makes it possible to see the traces of small skin wrinkles and hairs on the ceramic. A perspective that would not be possible on the pure object. 

A connection in space is created by four centrally positioned works. Two “Hybrid Kettlebell Figures” by Hachmeister and two figures by Monka bearing his first name Jonas appear as if stopped in the middle of a shared dance. Monka’s sculptural self-portraits address the inversion of subject and object inherent in the contemplation of one’s own reflection. Hachmeister’s kettlebells tell of body images, how they are formed, and that they can be shaped and changed. 

Pausing here in dance gives us as viewers time and space to pursue the question of who we are and whom we resemble. The double meaning of the exhibition title unfolds: Is there someone like me? Does someone like me? If we ask Hachmeister and Monka: Probably both.

[Text: Hanna Thuma 2023]