Johann Haehling von Lanzenauer
gallery owner & curator, co-founder & director of Circle Culture Gallery – Berlin
“I’ve always found it hard not to think about work,” claims Johann Haehling von Lanzenauer, who hails from Southern Germany but is now a Berliner by choice. “So I make sure I only work at things I am passionate about.” And it’s impossible not to believe him: Johann and his partner Dirk Staudinger ran an advertising agency, he worked as a creative director for Nike and wrote for several culture magazines like Style & The Family Tunes, but then he committed himself to the art world. One could say that 2001 marked a decisive turning point in his life, because that was when Johann Haehling von Lanzenauer and Dirk Staudinger founded the Circle Culture Gallery.
An open space for contemporary art, focusing on fine art emerging from urban subculture, located in Berlin as well as in Hamburg, it has evolved into one of the most important spots when it comes to urban art in Germany. Showcasing many of the most exciting talents of the scene, such as Aaron Rose, André Saraiva, Olivia Steele, Stefan Strubmel, Stohead and XOOOOX as well as IWISHUSUN ambassadors Jaybo Monk, Kevin Earl-Taylor and Marco “Pho” Grassi, the gallery has become a “powerhouse of the urban art scene.” We have attended countless openings and exhibitions at the Circle Culture Gallery and its excursions to temporary exhibition spaces, and can certainly claim to be dedicated followers of their work. Many of the gallery’s represented artists already support our project, and now Johann himself has shown his colours for IWISHUSUN. A very warm welcome!
What is more important to you, the sense of taste or sight?
You can look and you can see. I rather tend to see. Seeing, observing, feeling and understanding things is richer than just analyzing if something is charming to the eye.
You are a creative person. What is your vision for your personal work?
I am driven by inspiration and love. My vision is to be involved in constructive, culturally progressive and creative relationships with artists and art lovers.
What is your tactic for making the world a better place?
First of all, making myself a better place through breathing meditation. Getting rid of stress and anger to be open, empathetic and aware of the beautiful present my life is. From there you can achieve anything and create a positive vibe in the world surrounding you. Honestly: sometimes I wish I had more discipline in my breathing practice. But I’m working on it…
Can art change the world and educate people (i.e. in the way literature/theatre has influenced society through the ages, ever since theatre in ancient Greek civilisation)?
Art is a crucial part of human evolution. I think it is one of the core cultural paradigms expressing how much the world changes over time. Especially in today’s world, as art has a growing impact on various parts of our daily life, it is changing the way people think, look, dress, talk and travel. It is creating a massive change in our lives. In a world of mass consumption and pseudo individualism we are looking for stimulating ideas & authentic attitudes. We are looking for “one offs” we can identify with!
Being a gallery owner is a serious business. Your personal opinion: what makes a work of art valuable and meaningful?
As I said above, we are looking for unique positions. The only thing you can’t copy or fake are the spirits that live in any art form. Valuable art or fine art is a form of unique and blessed human artistic expression. Of course the technical and communication side plays a major role, but the core value sits in the guts of the artist. The meaning lies in the eye of the beholder. It is a purely subjective experience. It starts with the fact that if a piece of art intrigues the observer, a dialogue with the artwork ensues. From there you can dive into the deepest levels of meaning.
Who is your personal hero?
When was the last time you gave back and what did you do?
I try everyday to give back by trying to be respectful and attentive to people. As much as I can.
Through your gallery you travel a lot. Which place and what else would you love to see more often?
Honestly, I have travelled so much, that I just want to be in my “Heimat.” Close to my daughter and my team.
What is the most beautiful thing you ever saw?
The love to my daughter.
Sunrise or sunset – what do you prefer?
Sunset. “Le meilleur moment de la journée.”
What is your picture for IWISHUSUN?
WOW! WOW! WOW!