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Inge Braekman in HArt #23 (21 06 2007)

          Bruno Hardt says he works long on his drawings, currently exhibited in the Jan Dhaese Gallery in Ghent. Indeed, his toil is obvious in this ensemble of black-and-white landscapes that he has bundled under the all-encompassing name Braakland, to be interpreted broadly. Realistically- drawn (close to photographic reality) grounds, building sites, abandoned spaces or megalomanic architectural spaces catch his attention. The skies do not act as a background on the top of the page, but take on a pregnant role in the work. Hardt draws the undeveloped spaces very precisely and virtually free of any emotion. Not once does a figure ever appear. They are funereal, motionless and therefore untouchable. But the countless lines and the detail immediately set the viewer’s eyes in motion. In order to let the space in the work breathe, Hardts leaves some parts of the white paper blank. That way the so perfectly-detailed work looks a little incomplete, thankfully. The exhibited drawings contain the key scenes for an animation film that Hardt is making for the Happy End opera by the contemporary musical ensemble called Ictus. The premiere is on 07 December in the Lille Opera. The film, in which the drawings move in time and become transformed, is being made with Hans Op de Beeck and Klaas Verpoest. The gallery is showing a foretaste of it, lasting about five minutes. And it deserves mentioning: the sensorial experience of this piece of film is staggering. The preliminary sketches that one first saw, hanging on the wall, wooden, are made alive and sensitive in the film in such a way that one no longer has the foggiest idea whether one is looking at moving drawings of a landscape or whether one’s eye is walking around in an actual landscape. The pictures successfully evoke a feeling of desperation.  

Christophe Van Eecke

          Bruno Hardt's work has a unworldly character to it. Although he looks at the world in an almost detailed, almost photographic, manner in his drawings, on closer inspection the works contain unsettling lacunae and unusual voids. There are no people in his urban landscapes, only man-made spaces that then seem to be left to their own devices. Hardt has taken almost all his landscapes from his immediate surroundings, but in these drawings he provides a second layer, as it were. There is a eerie depth in the work that makes one want to look into the houses that he draws the faćades of. One gets the impression that one could run around in the urban sites that are put on paper. Thanks to the photographic stillness of the works Hardt's drawings acquire a film-like character. They appear to be alive because of the broad field of vision that they cover. The light line of streetlamps, the shimmer of the air and the texture of the buildings start to breathe. In his most recent work Hardt delves into this cinematographic dimension even further by having his images move in experimental videos. In a montage composed of an infinite series of recordings, Hardt shows empty landscapes that slowly mutate as they glide by our eyes.

Bruno Hardt's work examines both looking and drawing. Both activities are intrinsically linked. Wittgenstein once said that when the eye sees something beautiful then the hand wants to draw it. In spite of their bleakness Hardt's drawings possess an overwhelming, three-dimensional character to them. Life has just departed for a short while so as to allow the landscape appear to be a living organism.


Bert Frings (op galleries.nl)

          The work of the Belgian artist Bruno Hardt is very diverse: there are paintings, drawings and sculptures. His drawings show craftsmanship and precision. The way in which he depicts a cheerless world, mostly without people, is comparable with a camera recording. Every detail is registered; he does not miss a thing. The periphery he depicts is laden and the air is so oppressive that the drawings awaken certain expectations in the viewer. Expectations of events or denouements, and it is not clear whether they will take place very shortly or they took place just before the picture was immobilised. One of the unique facets of Bruno Hardt's pictures is his choice, within a certain time span, of the moment, that creates the exact tension at a glance.  


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