A closer look at Max Hattler

Max Hattler, whom we introduced to DL during last years 6th Berlin International Directors Lounge will be in town this week for a Directors Lounge special, Sat 8th January, 9pm, Z-Bar. Reason enough to sneak into the mind behind classics like collision or aanaatt.

Max about Max:

“I am interested in the space between abstraction and figuration, where storytelling is freed from the constraints of traditional narrative. My work contemplates microcosms, moments, atmospheres: Close-ups as reflections on the big picture. While my films tend to be without dialogue, they explore the relationship between sound, music and the moving image.”

Others about Max:

  • One of “three of the world’s most exciting young animators” Dazed and Confused
  • One of “Europe’s most hotly tipped visual artists” Metropolis Magazine, Japan 
  • “groundbreaking animation and music video work” Shooting People
  • “Max Hattler is one of my favourite experimental animators” Directors Notes
  • “his personal work is a revelation” Institute of Contemporary Arts, London
  • “Current hot potatoe” Time Out London

Max about how it all started:

“I was never all that much into film, which for a long time I only knew as narrative, live-action drama. Nor was I interested in animation, which I had only experienced as ‘cartoons’ – drawn funny films. I came to film in a roundabout way, through an interest in visual arts, design aesthetics, and the time-based media of sound and music. As a kid, I was always drawing and painting. I grew up in a musical family and in my teens I started using computers to make music, while also dabbling in computer graphics and animation. Perceiving these disciplines as disparate from each other, it took me a while until I realised that I had to combine them through the medium of animation film.” Interview at Shift magazine

Max Hattler performing live at Videoformes 2008, photo by dopi

Collision, Max about turning points:

“…you could see Collision as a sort of turning point (or starting point). I think Collision made a (small) impact because it was doing something new by commenting on politics through abstraction, by exploring graphic art as metaphor. Discarding traditional storytelling, it presents a marriage of image and sound to produce a kaleidoscopic take on our geopolitical situation. Subtle and bold at the same time, the film aims to mesmerise the viewer with symbols that are detached from their established context and applied in the service of an alternative reality. … The reading is open-ended: cultural carnage or carnival of cultures.” Interview at Shift magazine

It comes as no surprise that Max Hattler will be part of the 7th Berlin International Directors Lounge

top photo: Max Hattler at DOK Leipzig 2009

Directors Lounge Screening at Z-Bar
Saturday, 08 Jan 2011
Relations and Abstractions
Films by
Max Hattler

Bergstraße 2
10115 Berlin-Mitte

Max Hattler surprises his audience with the gripping force of his abstracted images, combined with sounds he often composes for his own films. The German media artist and animator lives in London and has made a real leap into the media art and festival scene since he graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2005. A programme of his films was already presented at Directors Lounge 2010, and we are happy to present his new programme this month, prior to our festival in February.

In Germany, animation is not being considered as a proper art field, and similar to graphic arts it is often seen as “angewandte Kunst” i.e. craftsmanship or applied arts, mostly feeding the film industry. The field of animation can be quite broad, from animations from pencil drawings, paper-cut-outs, stop-motion, 3D animation, Flash animation and live generated computer graphics. Max Hattler seems to embrace them all, and his work could be seen as happy eclecticism, as post-modern art practice. In Aanaatt (2008) he is using stop-motion animation, Drift (2007) is a combination of close-up photography of skin combined with compositing and Flash animation, Heaven and Hell (2010) are computer generated graphic animation loops, Everything Turns (2004) has been drawn directly into the computer, and Ladyscraper: Cheese Burgers (2011) looks like it was made with live VJ tools.

Looking closer into Max’s work, however, we realize that his art is in no way about eclecticism or appropriation. The artist does make his mark with genuine image composition, and even if his use of different media tools is astonishingly varied, there is something common in most of his films, a kind of surplus, or plenitude that can be almost overwhelming. Animation, this tedious and time-consuming technique (also true in the digital age) usually leads to reduction (unless it is made by big teams and studios such as Pixar) often resulting in a kind of artistic beauty of scarcity. Not with Max Hattler, though! Even if animation techniques lead him to quite abstracted forms, they are not abstract. And the reduced, abstracted forms become symbols again, which often multiply, break apart in smaller image units, still animated, and again accumulate, congregate to larger units, to super-structures. Amazingly, this often happens with a chuckle, a political twist or black humour.

We are very much looking forward to this film night with Max Hattler, who will be available for Q&A after the show.

(curated by Klaus W. Eisenlohr)

Artist Link:

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