Swiss artist Christoph Hänsli gained international recognition for his epic work, Mortadella (2006–08), a series of 332 small paintings, each one depicting a life-sized slice of sausage. His art combines scientific accuracy and sense of order with painterly freedom and a subtle sense of humor. Mortadella is a work that inducts the audience into the essence of Hänsli’s universe: drawing on everyday objects, this Conceptual artist addresses the great themes of human existence in extensive series by means of traditional painting. Hence, the artist’s rendering of trivial objects, such as discarded screws, pretzel sticks, hotel beds, light switches, ventilation grilles, and beer glasses, all revolve around human mortality, our search of meaning, and the resulting, thoroughly absurd distinctions between high and low culture.
This monograph presents the first extensive survey of Hänsli’s paintings from the past twenty-five years. In addition to the extensive section of more than eight hundred reproductions, three essays shed light upon his oeuvre from differing perspectives, including a literary approach by John Berger.