His works are often deceivingly simple. This scene could serve as an example: On barren farmland the only thing that will take root is a farmers wooden pitchfork. This farmer, played by Teun Hocks himself, decides to water his tools instead of his crops. This doubtful resignation and comical cynicism are typical for Hocks' works. He always plays the everyman in an awkward predicament. Confronted with an insurmountable problem or task there is nothing left to do but to smile bitterly. This peculiar sense of humor - a tragicomic dry wit - allows Hocks to portray the beauty of resignation in the face of hurdles impossible to take. But his works also touch larger problems and themes that underlie these photographed scenes.
In a different piece Hocks looks disillusioned at the spectator while holding the left pole of a large protest banner. The text on the banner probably spells 'protest' but is unreadable since the right side lays in the dust. Dressed in a long brown coat Hocks is a caricature of an old trade unionist. In a highly individualized society he seems nostalgic for an older kind of social cohesion. Loneliness and the resulting desperation are recurring themes in Hocks' oeuvre. His works feel timeless in a very distinct way; nostalgic but hard to place in a specific historic context while remaining in touch with current times.
While the visual jokes and puns have a direct effect, the scenes reference different social issues enough to remain captivating. In one image Hocks tells a whole story without a clear beginning or end. This stimulates the spectator to keep re-interpreting the work. This approach has resulted in many commissions and exhibits; from church windows in the Netherlands to solo-exhibitions in New York, China and Paris.
He creates these images by building a stage in his studio with paint and props. Then he photographs this scene with himself as the actor. The large-scale black and white prints he makes of these photographs are then provided with color by using transparent oil paint. In some cases he opts for digital image editing. The resulting work holds the midway between painting and photography; between capturing the moment and constructing a composition. Besides these pieces Hocks also creates video work and drawings.
With a career spanning almost 40 years and many successes to his name, Teun Hocks is one of the leading artists of the Netherlands. TORCH has been his main Dutch gallery since 1986 and is very proud of this long lasting collaboration. Abroad he is represented by galerie Patricia Dorfmann in Paris and by P.P.O.W. In New York.
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