Artist pays tribute to California’s coast with humor and awe at UCSD

The exhibit “Deep Water Horizon” by Austrian artist Hans Weigand is inspired by the fictitious and dystopian landscape of the California coastline on which the artist projects all sorts of ambivalent fallout from the last 30 years of popular culture.

“Deep Water Horizon” opens Oct. 1 at the UCSD Art Gallery and runs through Nov. 27 with an opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Sept. 30.

Weigand, born in 1954, lives and works in Vienna and Berlin. At UCSD, he will present eight large-scale, multilayered canvases in an octagonal shape. This fractured panoramic seascape is held together by a continuous, distant horizon, which is also a kind of dividing line between what’s on top of this huge wave and what has long been submerged. In this sense, “Deep Water Horizon” is not only in dialogue with the recent offshore catastrophe, but also hints at the archival burden confronted in the age of digital mass memory.

Having worked with large-scale multimedia collages for the last two decades, Weigand has adopted a three-step process for the production of his canvases.

The backdrop of each panel on display is provided by painting, mostly abstract images of nocturnal and daytime “atmospheres” characterized by different light parameters. Printed on these backdrops are large, computer-generated montages of photographic elements, primarily of seascapes shot at various locations in California and Hawaii.

Another layer of these collage works engages with bizarre architectural and environmental details found in Las Vegas or in the hinterlands of U.S. vernacular culture.

Above this tidal wave of trashy and flashy imagery, the lonely figure of the surfer, in large part modeled on the Comics character of the Silver Surfer, is enthroned in perfect isolation as if he or she were the last one standing amid the catastrophic debris of a contemporary media storm.

The third, and final, layer consists of another surface of hand-painted accentuations that act as smears across the hygienic aesthetics of digital production.

The exhibit will also feature two supplementary components. The first is a sequence of simple images that incorporates partly legible words that are set back-to-back with the canvases and positioned to welcome the viewers.

The second is an accompanying series of straightforward photographs of selected views of Americana that Weigand has collected in the course of his visits over the past decade.

Serious and profoundly humorous at the same time, this piecemeal accumulation of a panoramic counter-spectacle takes on the notion of a deep water horizon — embedded somewhere in the depths of our personal archives.


  • What:‘Deep Water Horizon’ by Hans Weigand
  • When:11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, Oct. 1 through Nov. 27
  • Opening reception:5 to 8 p.m. Sept. 30
  • Where:UCSD Art Gallery, Mandeville Center
  • Tickets:Free
  • Related:Film screening of ‘COTTON 2001/2010’: 6 p.m. Oct. 4, UCSD Visual Arts Facility Performing Space, discussion to follow with Juli Carson and Hans Weigand

SOURCE: UCSD Art Department