Deborah Schamoni

Mauerkircherstr. 186

D-81925 München

Wednesday – Friday 12 – 6 pm

Saturday 12 – 4 pm and by appointment

Judith HopfUP

Museion, Bozen, IT

01.10.16 – 08.01.17

  • Museion presents Judith Hopf’s first solo show in an Italian museum.Born in Karlsruhe in 1969, the artist teaches figurative arts at the Frankfurter Städelschule and has exhibited in institutions like “Neue Galerie“, Kassel (2015), Studio Voltaire, London (2013), Portikus, Frankfurt am Main (2007) and Casco Institute for Art and Design, Utrecht (2006). Her works have been presented at numerous festivals, including the Berlin International Film Festival (the Berlinale), and the “Internationalen Kurzfilmtagen Oberhausen”.

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    Her works stand out for the playful way in which they seek to deconstruct our certainties and undermine social parameters and conventions; their ironic, self-deprecating awareness of our limits, and use of slapstick, deliberately amateurish language and simple, basic materials. The Museion exhibition, entitled “Up”, sets out to celebrate Hopf’s unique standpoint in the globalized, hyper-connected art world. The artist designed the layout specifically for the show, which occupies the Passage area and the fourth floor of the museum. It presents more than thirty works including videos, sculptures and drawings, many of which have been produced for the exhibition and forge a dialogue with the venue and surrounding landscape. The relationship with the South Tyrol landscape can also be seen on the invitation for the exhibition, designed by the artist herself.

    The exhibition starts in the Passage area with the video Lily’s Laptop (2013), which effectively reveals the artist’s interest in all forms of subversion and the complexity of youth: an au pair girl, left at home alone and not allowed to use the computer, takes revenge by flooding the apartment. Despite the unfolding drama, the video retains a comic tone which shifts the focus onto the omnipotence of the computer in contemporary life, and our overriding need to be connected 24/7. The background for the video is another work by the artist on the wall of the Passage area, emblematically entitled “Rain”. A stylised shower of hard black drops painted in tempera playfully accompanies the images of the flood shown on the screen.

    Limits and social exclusion are the focus of one of the artist's best known videos, Some End of Things: The Conception of Youth (2011), which will be on show in a marquee structure created for the occasion on the fourth floor. In the work a man in an egg costume walks around a modernist steel and glass building, but cannot get through the door without breaking his shell. In its simplicity, the work asks whether social exclusion depends on pre-existing structures or stems from the intrinsic qualities of the individuals excluded.

    In Museion the video is screened in a circular structure, Husse 2 (2016), created for the occasion on the fourth floor. The fabric used to create the structure reflects the artist’s preference for simple materials and recalls the brick motif which characterises recent sculptures and elements of the exhibition design. As well as previous films, the exhibition also presents a new work, UP! (2016). This video animation, produced in collaboration with Martin Ebner, shows an SUV tilting and swaying on a mountain road. The instability of this powerful modern vehicle is not just physical, but also metaphorical, raising questions on the actual solidity of objects that are viewed as status symbols.

    The artist's sculptures use humour to subvert the language of modernity, and this can also be seen in her works featuring animals, “animated” with anthropomorphic traits. In line with the ideas of Lévi-Strauss, animals are a kind of symbolic and conceptual support for various human practices. This can be seen in Hopf’s concrete Flock of sheep (2016), which pokes fun at the conventions of minimalist sculpture – part of her artistic background - but also mocks the behaviour of certain visitors to contemporary art exhibitions. On display on the panoramic fourth floor of Museion, with its giant picture windows, these animal sculptures also communicate with the surrounding Alpine landscape. The same thing happens with the piece Raben (2016), a group of 13 crows constructed from medicine boxes and then remodelled in porcelain. Sitting on the railings by the windows, the crows reverse the practice of birdwatching - the birds appear to be watching the visitors, rather than vice versa.

    Hopf’s latest sculptures are in brick - Ball Kugel (2016), Rollkoffer (2016), Hand (2016) and Self Portrait with Problems (2016) - and allude to limitations of physical experience, in the form of a visual oxymoron or paradox: a foot, football and trolley bag so heavy and solid that their motion is frozen into place. Bricks not only feature in sculptures, but also appear in architectural modules that shape the layout of the exhibition. The show includes a significant set of Hopf’s collages too. Her anthropomorphic Waiting Laptops (2016) draw attention to the empathic relationship we develop with the objects we use every day: in an age of increasingly virtual relationships, for Hopf the physical and subjective experience remains central, and this is an essential key to her art.

    Curated by Letizia Ragaglia
    Text: Museion, Bozen
    Photos: Luca Meneghel