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Hannes Postma (1933-2020)

Upon close examination, the experiences depicted in Hannes Postma’s drawings are not particularly pleasant. At the very least, the subjects are stretched out like sandwiches or compressed into bundles of limbs. They are constantly in intense motion, rising up, floating, or being shot across the plane, colliding, getting caught in explosions, and being torn apart by sharp-edged surfaces. Their hands and feet detach, multiply, and fly off into space. Their heads transform into balloons, which then expand back into bodies further on. They collide with all sorts of cosmic furniture (shelves, boxes, clothes hangers, hats, undulating earth crusts) that render space unsafe…It is, of course, not without significance that Hannes Postma composes with shapes that evoke our own world, rather than circles and squares. His space is a genuine space, even though near and far have become interchangeable, an immense space in which the earth appears fragmentary…The events, the sharp edges reach us through the drawn flesh. Wordless balloons float out of our field of vision, resembling smoke clouds or drops of blood. The boxes contain surprises (not only pleasant ones, Postma calls them Pandora’s boxes), embryos, pieces of landscape and water; perhaps they are also hiding places. Helpless little people confront the cosmic authority of enormous coats and hats, in a world where everything, including themselves, is simultaneously itself and something else or at least in the process of becoming something else.

“Hannes Postma is an image-maker, someone who, like a magician, conjures up people and spaces. But he is also a viewer of those images, who, with some irony, observes all that struggle and is capable of playing pranks with the mysterious. Without imposing his personality on us, he speaks a highly personal language.” This is evident in the title, Hocus Focus. The title and the lithographs make a clear statement, creating new insights through a small intervention. Postma associates a new word-meaning, demonstrating that language is a living entity. The title is a pun. The traditional magic spell is “hocus pocus pilatus pas,” wherein something briefly disappears or reappears. It is the sensation of the curtain opening, the story commencing, and the tension of the moment of wonderment being felt with a transformative power. has several Postma publications available.