Hans-Jürgen Hafner

Biographical information

Hans-Jürgen Hafner, born in 1972, is an exhibition organizer and art critic. He is currently the director of the Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen in Düsseldorf.

Hafner studied German and history at the University of Regensburg. Having worked as a freelance writer and art critic since 2000, he has contributed numerous articles, essays and reviews to the online platform artnet.de, art magazines such as Camera Austria, Spike Art Quarterly and Texte zur Kunst, as well as many other publications.

As an independent curator, Hans-Jürgen Hafner has organized numerous contemporary art exhibitions since 2004. These are generally thematic surveys, whereby the exhibition itself is also examined as a situation-specific format and a medium in its own right. Since 2011 Hafner has been the artistic and managing director of the Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, where he has organized monographic exhibitions with artists such as Tim Berresheim, Josephine Pryde, Rosa Sijben, Dominik Sittig and Walter Sennen; Hafner also presented the first museum survey of the art of Henry Flynt, who established the genre of ‘concept art’ in 1961 and is also known as a philosopher and composer.

Together with the painter and art critic Gunter Reski, Hafner curated the exhibition The Happy Fainting of Painting in 2012, focussing on the problematic discursive situation of painting, and published an anthology of the same title in 2014. Alongside new essays, interviews and artists’ contributions, the publication includes a number of key historical texts on painting since the 1980s that have been translated into German for the first time.

From 2014–15 Hans-Jürgen Hafner was a visiting professor at the Academy of Fine Arts Münster. He previously taught at the Merz Academy – College of Design, Art and Media in Stuttgart – and has also held lecturing posts at the Academy of Visual Arts (HGB) in Leipzig and the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam.

Exhibitions (selected)

  • Die Kunst der Türken, Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf (zusammen mit Manuel Graf), 2015
  • Zum Beispiel ‚Les Immatériaux’, Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf (zusammen mit Christian Kobald), 2014
  • Das Beste vom Besten. Vom riskanten Geschäft der Kunst, Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf, 2013
  • Henry Flynt: Activities 1959-, Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf, ZKM Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe, 2012
  • The Happy Fainting of Painting, Zwinger Galerie, Berlin (zusammen mit Gunter Reski), 2012
  • Bild und Träger. Und ein Pfeiler im Park Sanssouci, Brandenburgischer Kunstverein, Potsdam, 2011
  • white albums, W. O. Scheibe Museum, Stuttgart 2010 (zusammen mit Michael Dreyer, Julian Göthe und Michael Paukner), 2010
  • Loose Joints. Show 1, Kienzle Art Foundation, Berlin (zusammen mit Daniel Kletke), 2010
  • Der Schnitt durch die Oberfläche legt neue Oberflächen frei, Temporary Gallery Cologne, Köln (zusammen mit Max Mayer), 2009
  • difference, what difference? Sonderausstellung zum Art Forum Berlin, 2008
  • The Most Contemporary Picture Show, Actually. René Daniëls, Michael Krebber, Klaus Merkel, Kunsthalle Nürnberg, 2006
  • dead/undead, Galerie Six Friedrich Lisa Ungar, München, 2005
  • unburied/reburied, kunstbunker e. V., Nürnberg, 2005
  • Eclipse + Other Chance Appearances. Euan Macdonald/Robert Smithson, kunstbunker e. V., Nürnberg, 2004

Hans-Jürgen Hafner
Hans-Jürgen Hafner
Director | Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen | Düsseldorf

Culture and knowledge production
Cultural theory
Contemporary art
Digital culture

Hans-Jürgen Hafner