After a six-year break from exhibiting, Hannes Gruber re-introduced himself to the art scene with a performance resembling a job interview – suit, nametag and all – making a humorous and no-frills comment on the market mentality of the art world. His body of work, which consists of numerous site-specific installations with manipulated found objects, deals with notions of cost, value production, and the banality of everyday life. Oscillating between earnestness and irony, Gruber seeks to achieve a new pseudo-innocence through art. An installation called Softcleandream I involved covering an uneven floor with 150 litres of the cheapest liquid household detergent, available in “Green Apple” and “Rose”, drawing attention to the unbearable, chemical stench and fluorescent, toxic colours. Beyond materiality, Gruber also deflates the value of romanticised notions, as in a series on maritime-themed paintings, with plenty of nods to art history.
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