Other People’s Feelings is an exercise in empathy and evocation. These photographs are poignant double portraits depicting an image of Hansen alongside that of another person. For the picture, the artist strives to empathically assume the facial expression and general mien of his ‘double’ as closely as possible. He chooses subjects of different genders and races in an attempts to erase differences, or at least draw attention to the artificiality of that concept. Hansen has said that ‘these portraits are about how we inhabit each other, reside in each other, and how we always leaves traces in each other’. In this way, Hansen’s portraits capture emotional rather than physical likeness. A primary topic for Hansen is this critical thinking about German post war history and the social, political and emotional implications of the unspoken traumas passed on from generation to generation. Through the lens of his upbringing and family background, the work weaves together personal anecdote and reflections on contemporary society. Markus Hansen is interested in how information is communicated and transmitted between individuals, and in a large sense, across generations. In his new videos and photographs, Hansen is concerned with indirect, nonverbal ways in which people are indelibly connected by shared experience.

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Other people’s feelings: The books

Other people’s feelings #4 (2007-2011)