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self-portrait with hat

Selbstbildnis mit Mütze / self-portrait with hat
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For years Bertram Haude has been collecting his hair and has it felted into items of clothing. The ultimate goal is to clothe the entire body in his own hair until his dying day.

 

Almost everything man needs for everyday life is not made by himself. Food, clothing, wool, leather, but also construction materials, crude oil, all these are taken from other beings. What can man produce from his own existence? How can he provide for himself and others? He cannot even cover his nakedness on his own terms. He must exploit all kinds of creatures in order to survive. Even covering himself in his own body hair needs the work of a life span.

The pictorial language here hints to the Renaissance: A distinguished, place- and dateless portrayal that only tries to respond to an individual capable of assuring themselves of their subjectivity. The transition to nominalism (via moderna) that teaches approval and realization of the individual thing, the subject, penetrates society in the 15th and 16th century BC and becomes more and more apparent in the visual arts. Not only noble people now have their portrays painted as proud, lordly and independent, but also the middle class. These representative artworks often convey social rank through sumptuous garments and ornate headpieces. Here, this is replaced by an object that does not represent self-assured power but can rather be interpreted as a symbol of self-effacing. The liberation of medieval man to a modern, free subject comes to an end when the subject’s woes on one hand, now only self-implicating, and Creation’s exhaustion caused by irreversible and ruthless emancipation of man from nature become all too apparent. The hat’s shape is borrowed from the sikke, the headdress of sufi dervishes. The word dervish in standard Urdu language, darwaishanathabiyath, also means the attitude of attaching little value to material possessions and worldly reputation. Its alternative translation as “beggar” also implies that someone who is on their way to sufism will realize their own “penuriousness in the face of God’s abundance”. The sikke in its traditional form

as a cone-shaped felt cap probably goes back to the headdresses of magicians in ancient Persia or the caps of wandering disciples of Zoroaster.