CM: It may come as a surprise that Gérard Haas, the famed electronic sculptor, served as editor-in-chief of Éclair-Journal newsreels and Gaumont Actualités, and then worked for Pathé-Cinéma, first as producer and later as director of production. During the Pathé years he also served as director of audio-visual productions for the Musée des Sciences et Technique, La Vilette. Haas' diverse career background enabled him to become one of the most fascinating artistic personalities of the 20 th century. An electronic sculptor with a passion for modern technology, he made machines of space and time that shine in the dark with the aid of electricity.
Throughout his life, Haas transformed his passion for technology into electronic sculpture, transferring to it his urge to communicate through art. In essence, art for Haas began as his means to break out of his isolation at home and to communicate with the outside world. Eventually he saw his electronic sculpture as a mediator between mankind and the universe.
#281 Napoleon III of 1991 is one of the last works in Haas' Mask series that began in the 1970s, with their electronic look, radiant eyes, transistor heart, labyrinthine circuits, and Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights. The individuality of this mask is astonishing and reflects the spectacular personality of the person Haas purports to portray - Napoléon Bonaparte (1769-1821), who had such a significant impact on the history of Europe. From a contemporary viewpoint, Haas interpreted Napoléon with a transparent head, yellow face, clenched teeth, constantly blinking eyes, and orange rectangular goggles.
In his artistic pursuit, Haas sought to describe the human condition in the age of digital technology and computers. In contrast to prior inert and inactive artworks, his are endowed with a life that relies on technology. Supplied with electricity, Haas' sculptures give off light patterns and project light. Dora Iliopoulou-Rogan suggests that these works are more "companions" than objects. She writes: "They transmit messages of friendship and communication, seeking to get in touch with our human side, exciting our imagination and curiosity without short-circuiting with our reason".
[Megakles Rogakos 06/2006]
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES Silent Dialogues: Multimedia Portraits Throughout Time 2008 The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens