Adad Hannah: Case Studies

Adad Hannah is a Vancouver based artist who has exhibited widely across Canada as well as internationally in the United States, Korea, Prague, Chile, Shanghai, Bucharest and Birmingham. His work is cinematic and focuses on performance and movement. Jeff Wall,  Cindy Sherman and Andy Warhol are some of the influences he draws inspiration from.

When I first read the gallery handout and saw that Hannah used digital video to create his images I was rather puzzled as to the process. I then checked his website and found that he actually builds a mise-en-scene, poses his subjects as if it were for a still photograph and then videos the still scene for about 4 – 10 minutes. When viewing the video, only slight movements are noticed: little things like the blink of someone’s eye, a slight readjustment of an arm stretched out and so on. This must be extremely difficult for the subjects to hold these poses for such a lengthy period. Like Jeff Wall, he builds elaborate sets as can be seen in his documentation of Blackwater Orphelia.

Hannah’s Case Studies project mimics Muybridge’s work in a similar fashion. Where Muybridge’s work is all in sepia tone, Hannah uses rich colours. He also uses a grid as a background, but in his case the grid is black, where as Muybridge used white in order to reflect as much light into the lens as possible. Another difference is that Hannah has some black-clad helpers that help lift and support the subjects in their various poses and this creates a slightly sinister feel to the photos. It’s as if there are ninjas lurking in the background wanting to do evil to the subjects who are in the light. The ninjas are less noticeable on the actual print than on the photograph as the saturation is more dense. Whether Hannah videotaped these images as staged images as he has done with his other work, or photographed these motion images in a similar fashion to Muybridge, I cannot say. But either way the motion is very carefully captured. There is less of a forensic/scientific feel to Hannah’s work which is probably due to the use of colour and the background ninjas.

Adad Hannah: After Muybridge: Wrestlers 2
Adad Hannah: After Muybridge: Wrestlers 2


Another series Hannah had on display was his Polka Dot Case Study. In these images he uses a polka dot background, all the props bar the bowls are covered in the polka dots. The subject is also clad in an all-in-one jumpsuit that matches the background. Various yoga or gymnastic poses are struck with the subject balancing contrasting coloured bowls on various parts of her anatomy. The images form an optical illusion and from afar one is not really aware of the subject in the photos, just the background and the bowls. It is only when the viewer draws closer that the misaligned polka dots of the subject and cube she is seated on truly stands out from the background. I found this to be a really creative series of images.

An Arrangement (Polka Dot Case Study) 1
Adad Hannah: An Arrangement (Polka Dot Case Study) 1
Reference List

Adad Hannah [online] Available from: [Accessed 20 March, 2016]


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