Adad Hannah is a Canadian artist, well known for his adeptly constructed “Tableau vivant” film clips. Hannah currently works in Montreal and Vancouver, moving back and forth. Hannah’s work has a strong resemblance to photography, at first I wasn’t sure if the projections shown were stills or moving pictures, but I quickly caught on. His work consists of mostly friends and family, and at times complete strangers, posed in a setting and filmed in a “freeze frame” over a short span of time. The comical air to his work really helps to engage his audience and mentally place them in the situation, the awkward slips of posture create a lot of visual tension, and make the audience think about how they would respond or behave as an actor in one of Hannah’s Tableau videos. Hannah’s work has components of documentary in it as well, especially his piece titled “The Russians” which resembles a young group of people positioned in and around a car as if they are on vacation. This particular piece stood out to me because the poses of the people in the scene are very natural, but also the acknowledgement the subjects have of the camera was very captivating. The steady gaze of the subjects acknowledging the camera creates a very strong visual connection between subject and viewer, making the view feel at times that he/she is being watched by the characters in the clip.
Hannah’s work also contains many historical references. Several of his staged tableau images/video clips are copies of famous paintings from the past, such as his recreation of “The Raft of Medusa” by Gericault. For this piece of work, Hannah had an entire set built with a pained mural back drop and raft in order to resemble the scene as much as possible. He then placed several people in different positions, had them rehearse the scene and then filmed them for a short period of time.
Hannah’s work is very interesting to me, particularly his recreations. This is due to the fact that it makes these famous works of art much easier to connect to. By placing real people in the roll of the subjects within the painting, he also helps the audience of his work physically place themselves here by using real people in his creations. I very much enjoyed hearing Hannah talk about his work, and would encourage anyone who is interested in film/photography to go and see his exhibitions.