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Samuel Haitz: on the filmy foundation of my dreams

  • Plymouth Rock 66 Manessestrasse Zürich, ZH, 8003 Switzerland (map)

Der Kreis was a gay men's magazine published in Zurich between 1943 and 1967. With essays on the political situation of the gay community, poetry, drawings, short stories and soft core photography (Karlheinz Weinberger and Herbert List published anonymously or under coded names); it was a nexus of a certain type of gay thought and communal desire throughout Europe in the mid-century. For the past couple years Samuel Haitz has used the archive of Der Kreis in aspects of his work as a vocabulary that reveals desire and form in an oblique idea of collage. Sifting through these issues Haitz found echoes of his own longings in a visual language that felt contemporary or timeless: a fascination with the past feeling sexually relevant, rather than nostalgic. The images grabbed here: nudes, swimmers, dreamers; are attractive by consensus- only of the kind found in the temples of the Classics - those bodies that homophobic Western society tolerates appreciation of. Some are etched on aluminum panels so that we may never glimpse them in totality, the reflected light adding aura as it denies a visual demanded. Others are simple black and white copies, the full magazine layout intact, arranged along one another, creating compositional plays of line, shadow, torso, back and ass. Pinned and stacked under high-UV lighting these totems fade while enjoyed, in a compositional relation to these bodies now withered by time. Alongside this all are parts of an ongoing series of paired unopened soda cans that continue Haitz’s riff on the legacy of gay desire in art: here Frank O’Hara’s Having a Coke With You and Jasper Johns’ Two Beer Cans, both from 1960, are brought unified to the present. Within all the pieces is an obsessive interest in the male body gazed, whether in private or through targeted advertising that wets the tongue and quenches the thirst. As Haitz reanimates these men, he reanimates desire- fleeting and Frankensteinian as it is. It is summertime and taut muscles reverberate in the pool, the park and the construction site; if not the mirror. We have our wants met or unmet but visually we drink it up, and we all have our dreams for August and after.

Earlier Event: July 25
«Wer zahlt?»
Later Event: August 3
Simon Risi meets Luisa Tschannen