Hans Haacke

Cologne, Germany, 1936
  • Date: 
    1969 / Reconstruction of 2009
  • Material: 
    Water, water pump, PVC flexible tube and propylene connectors
  • Technique: 
  • Dimensions: 
    Overall: 12 x 760 x 590 cm
  • Category: 
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Hans Haacke’s contribution to conceptual art evolved from the mid-1960s, when he settled in New York (1965) and began his critical dialogue with Minimalism, a dialectic that grew into institutional criticism. In this early period, Haacke focused on presenting and documenting physical processes, using structurally simple formats of industrial appearance. This was the idea behind Condensation Cube, a work based around the process of steam condensation inside a Minimalist transparent cube. Circulation, from 1969, goes one step further towards what the artist refers to as “real-time systems”; in the work, a pump shoots water and air around a continuous circuit made up of lengths of transparent tubing. The artist uses the installation to go more deeply into his analysis of physical and biological systems, which alter as time passes, never repeating the same pattern even though they always have the same nature and the circuit remains unchanged by the artist. The movement of the water and air is like that in a living being, adapting to its surroundings. Yet the way it evolves, while it can be channelled, cannot be predicted totally. The interest in the ‘flow’ of an element clearly separates this from the enclosed, self-contained nature of minimalist sculpture, providing the grounding for investigations into other kinds of flow (capital, human, etc.) that Haacke would develop over the coming years.

Carmen Fernández Aparicio