Garrett Hansen (b. 1979) graduated from Grinnell College, where he studied economics and political science. Hansen completed his MFA in photography at Indiana University and has taught at several universities in the United States and in Asia; he is now an Assistant Professor of Photography at the University of Kentucky. Hansen has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in primarily North America, but also in Europe, Australia, South America and Asia. Garrett’s work deals primarily with issues of place and how we grow to know and understand the world around us.
Garrett Hansen’s exhibition ‘HAIL’ was selected by the programme committee through the 2019 Copenhagen Photo Festival: Festival Centre open call. Roughly 40% of US households have a gun and there are enough guns – approximately 300 million – to arm nearly every man, woman and child in the country. At the core of the ‘VOID’ series is a desire to consider these facts and to create a set of images that speaks to these implications. Each image as part of this exhibit was created from individual bullet holes. While shooting is fundamentally a destructive act, Hansen tries to balance this destruction with creation by bringing these holes into the darkroom, enlarging them and then processing and printing the results. The viewer is presented with images that speak to the sublime – they are both attractive and terrifying at the same time. In many ways reflecting Americas’ opinions on guns, a country where the debate between rights and control continues to rage.
While the VOID series deals with the power of the single bullet, the SILHOUETTES series engages the broader culture of guns in America. Every week Hansen goes to a local gun range and collects the backings that are used behind their standard targets. The targets depict an unarmed man’s silhouette, a highly common target throughout civilian and police gun ranges. Each shooter is presented with a fresh target, while the backings slowly erode from the thousands of shots – most often in the chest and head areas. Hansen then collects the pieces of cardboard and brings them into the darkroom, where he makes full-sized contact prints of them. These prints are then scanned and form the basis for the art pieces. The final pieces are made of mirrored plexiglass and scaled-down replicas of the original cardboard backings. As the viewer approached the pieces, they could see their own reflections hollowed out by the countless bullets.
Bullets, the component to the project is comprised of bullets that have been collected from gun ranges, each bullet, sculpted by ballistic impact, takes a dramatic new form. The contorted shapes relate to the inherent violence in shooting and transform each sleek projectile into twisted shards of lead. As with the void series, this part of HAIL deals with the complex con-nections between destruction and creation