Johann Richard

“As a painter, musician, and developer of software and hardware, I have always tried to let different artistic and real worlds flow into one another. I hope I have succeeded in this with my works.”

Only Friends - What About Tomorrow - Plastic on vinyl, 8.7 x 8.7 in. (each) - EUR 814

Johann Richard Hartel first ventured into the visual arts in the 1970s, beginning with watercolor and acrylic painting, before expanding into photo alienation in the darkroom and etching techniques. During his extensive career in the music industry, Hartel discovered a novel painting surface—vinyl records, found stored away in numerous boxes in his cellar. His exploration into various paint materials eventually led him to experiment with pasty plastics. With a touch of humor, he named his new art venture "Flop.Art," as he exclusively utilizes leftover vinyl records and CDs from his own music productions.

Hartel has been described by a longtime observer as a "bunter Hund" (a German phrase akin to "Jack of all trades"), reflecting his boundless curiosity for life and relentless energy. Since the early 1980s, Hartel has enjoyed national and international success as a music producer, composer, lyricist, and musician. His musical portfolio spans experimental film music, pop, ethno, reggae, jazz, classical music, and German Schlager. Beyond his music career, he has also served as an electronics developer, university professor in sound engineering, acoustics, and instrumentology, and as a journalist for German music magazines.

Hartel continues to perform with several of his own bands—covering genres like folk, swing, and Dixieland, as well as German Schlager oldies—but he primarily performs solo at book readings with Lis Levell.

In his artistic process, Hartel listens to his own songs on a continuous loop while working on his objects, visualizing them in his mind’s ear. His music is characterized by a strict structure, whereas his art seeks to introduce abstract chaos into this order. Each of his works is named after one of his songs and includes a line from the song itself. Information about the current version of the song can be accessed via a QR code next to the image descriptions on his homepage. Notably, despite his many musical pseudonyms, his visual artworks are created exclusively under his full legal name, Johann Richard Hartel.

My One And Only - My Life Guarantee - Plastic on vinyl, 23.6 x 27.6 in. - EUR 1,898
Final Curtain - All Pure Delusions - Plastic on vinyl, 23.6 x 19.7 in. - EUR 1,356
Crazy - Vanish Into Thin Air - Plastic on vinyl, 11.8 x 11.8 in. - EUR 407
Mais Dis-Moi - Qui Te Prend Par La Main - Plastic on vinyl, 15.7 x 15.7 in. - EUR 723

This review was published by Circle Foundation for the Arts © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist


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