SUPPLEMENTS, 2018, series of 12 drawings on steel, each 225 x 125 cm
"Constantin Hartenstein's series including the works Cannibal Alpha, Antistrog, Alpha Xplode and Narc Genesis Pump (2018) thematises ideas of beauty that are shaped through permanent body work.
Specific elements of the male body are often socially interpreted as emblematic of masculinity. Physical height and a pronounced musculature, for example, are considered to be typically masculine characteristics.
Displayed on blue steel plates, the works represent the stickers, labels and packaging of protein and vitamin tablets. These works are reminiscent of advertising billboards and 'blueprint' cyanotypes, an old photographic process typified by its cyan-blue tones, which were widely used to reproduce urban and building plans from around 1870. The protein and vitamin tablets are, likewise, a material used to (re)produce and duplicate the ideal body of a specific kind of alpha-male – dominant, strong and successful. These works point towards the ideal of masculine strength and muscle power, but at the same time towards the self-staged nature of masculinity.
At the same time, they generate a critical reflection on the question of the increasing commercialisation of the masculine body. They indicate the extent to which, under neoliberalism, masculinity is produced. As something that can be bought and sold, it is determined by social class and income. Motifs and materialities are thus interconnected with the notion of a strong and unyielding masculinity, which, however, at the same time seems to be held under constant threat by femininity and feminisation. Masculinity is fragile precisely because it must always prove itself."
- Sylvia Sadzynski, curator
installation view, MIGHTY GOOD MEN, Galerie im Turm Berlin, June 2018
ADJUST, 2018, performance in collaboration with Jos McKain, Jorge Rodolfo de Hoyos Jr and Bendik Giske
YOU LOVE THIS FEELING, 2017, video installation, 9:11 min, stereo, color
The video piece "You love this feeling" is using the visual language of advertisements to comment on neo-masculinity, power structures presented in public places and the reinvention of the male body as a means to sell. Implementing a soundtrack that wants to turn all straight men into gay men, the work comments on gay conversion therapies and male body dissatisfaction.
installation view, Berlinische Galerie, March 2017
curated by Anne Bitterwolf
THE AIR SHEETS 3, presented by Sorry Archive
Museum of Modern Art, Raymound Roussel Reading Room, New York, March 13, 2017
ALPHA, 2015, HD video installation, 11:22 min, stereo, color
The first letter of the Greek alphabet, Alpha has come to denote "the first of anything." Animal researchers use the word to signify dominance, applying it to the leader of the pack, who is first in power and importance. Among humans, an Alpha-Male is defined as "a man tending to assume a dominant role in social or professional situations, or thought to possess the qualities and confidence for leadership." This project is based on a subliminal soundtrack called ‘Be the Alpha Male’ . The narration is re-enacted by three muscular men. The resulting multi-layered video is presented as a larger than life projection.
ALPHA MALES : Jase Grimm, Anthony Rockford, Garrett Hill
ALPHA FEMALE : Mille Højerslev Nielsen
CAMERA : Joshua Frank
EDITING I ADDITIONAL CAMERA I SOUND I ANIMATIONS: Constantin Hartenstein
installation view, Videonale.15, Kunstmuseum Bonn, 27 Feb - 19 Apr 2015
curated by Tasja Langenbach
installation view, A New Language, The Observer Building, Hastings, UK, 10-25 Sep 2016
curated by Christopher Winter
installation view, capribynight, Cologne, 1-30 Feb 2017