Often large, at times monumental formats are characteristic of Max Hechinger’s painting. Set in immersive configurations, they are complemented by smaller-formats and sculptural cardboard objects. Here, picture-making becomes an interdisciplinary act of not only crafting the imaginary but also of reflecting reality, albeit twistedly illustrative, and of opening interpretative spaces.

Oscillating between idyll and tristesse, Max Hechinger’s works reflect life in rural spaces in proximity to pristine nature. Anthropomorphized depictions of animals humorously portray the entanglement of human and non-human animals in their shared needs. It is about satiating hunger, finding a place to sleep, gathering, building, hiding, playing and celebrating. A sharp-toothed rodent in a rocker jacket circles the forest on a motorcycle. Stenciled figures, grinning like honey-cake horses, caught in pouring rain, are frozen at the moment of splashing into a puddle. Are those bears, beavers, or St. Bernards who are pissing away the summer punch under the picnic hut?

In Max Hechinger’s work, painting processes experience, including that which is fantasized, transferred and recalled. In a multi-part piece, light enters darkness in a labyrinth branching out like an ivy, revealing episodes of the everyday life of voles. This subterranean prey community leads a parallel existence to that of humans. Its comfort inventory includes a soup pot, flower vase, beer keg and scat deck. An abducted chunk of cheese clogs up a side branch of the tunnel. Shadow creatures are poking around the corner and in one of the deepest chambers there is even a fireworks display. The simplistic, overdrawn and cartoon-like world presented here retains the cacophony of destruction, exploitation and violence. It is as if B52’s Rock Lobster were playing on the turntable at 33 RPM, idealized projections and magical notions are distorted, slowed down in Max Hechinger’s visual world placing his painting between heaven and abyss.


Oliver Kossack

Go back