Lexia Hachtmann's detailed paintings depict the objects we surround ourselves with
Currently completing her masters in fine art painting, the German-British artist's work sits with in the “intersection of painting and architecture, as well as theatre and sociology”.
- Lucy Bourton
- 20 March 2020
Back when artist Lexia Hachtmann started art school in 2012, she avoided the practice of painting at all costs. “I never actively wanted to be a painter,” she tells It’s Nice That, when discussing the medium which now makes up the bulk of her practice. “I felt as if I wanted to do everything BUT painting.”
At this time Lexia, who is German-British, was studying an art foundation in Brighton. Experimenting with all media within the wide bracket of fine art, she admits now that she was working through this “naive kind of prejudice against painting” she had at the time. Moving back to her childhood home of Berlin to study at the University of the Arts there in 2013, this approach of avoiding a paintbrush continued until just three years ago, when “ironically, I discovered painting for myself,” she explains. “This came as a real surprise to my former self. My former self was like: 'What is happening?' Since then it’s been very exciting.”
Currently completing her masters degree at the same university in Berlin, Lexia has now taken the time to build a large and impressive painting portfolio - no mean feat for someone who hid from the medium until very recently. Inspired by the likes of Colombian painter and sculpture artist Beatriz González and the “freedom and intuition” of Pierre Bonard’s use of colour, to the way Egon Schiele draws hands, or how Francis Bacon’s paintings are “stage-like compositions”, the artist’s love for the medium is obvious in her painting’s use of perspective and context.
Largely creating still life pieces, although it isn’t uncommon for figures to appear in her works, Lexia explains that she always paints intuitively. “I never work from photographs as templates for my work,” she says, although you’d be forgiven for thinking she does considering their level of detail. Instead the artist follows her own formula she’s devised to approach a canvas, which “nearly always” begins with sketching. Forcing the artist to “slow down and really look at the object I am depicting,” Lexia tells us that often she becomes immersed the way a child would and “this act of humbleness is very important in my process. In German there is a very nice word for it, called ‘Demut’.”
In order to keep herself immersed Lexia also places limits on herself artistically, making way for optimum concentration. Drawing with her left hand is a method she often uses for instance, and she’ll never pick up an eraser if something doesn’t work out. “Every line that is put down on the page has its importance, sometimes I only realise later on in the process why, or what it is there for.” Once an idea or object is drawn out, the artist will start on canvas (using her right hand this time) and this transition, “as well as from colourless sketch to colourful painting,” is a technique that she describes “central to the work”.
Most recently, still life pieces or home-like scenes are the main component of Lexia’s output. Turning away from human figures and “concentrating on the depiction of the interior”, the artist explains that this has developed from a current fascination with “what kinds of objects humans surround themselves with in their most private spaces, for example in the bedroom.”
It’s within this subject that another tangent to the artist’s work is introduced, as the majority of these pieces also sit within the “intersection of painting and architecture, as well as theatre and sociology,” she tells us, pointing out how with these recent works comment on how: “Cities are expanding so rapidly at the moment and I feel as though the notion of privacy and private space has taken on a new significance.” Also hinting at a new series consisting of etchings which “document these very private rooms”, with emphasis on “all the details of objects, patterns and textures humans surround themselves with.”
Looking to the future as Lexia is still studying the artist tells us she’s busy in the studio creating new works for shows later in the year. Hoping to “further explore the themes of montage, game and social space,” we look forward to seeing where Lexia will point her paintbrush next.
GalleryAll paintings by Lexia Hachtmann
All paintings by Lexia Hachtmann
About the Author
Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019 she was made deputy editor and in November 2021, became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.