MILAN — Berlin artist Judith Hopf is making her third solo appearance at Milan’s kaufmann repetto gallery with ! Hear Ring !, an exhibition of new sculptures, installations and video animations. If you’re not familiar with Hopf as a filmmaker, we suggest reading her interview in ArtSpace. In it, she discusses slapstick absurdist comedy and her background growing up in the shadow of what she refers to as “the wall.”
The exhibition draws on brick and wall imagery while discussing our emerging technological society and how information, and ourselves, move through it. The gallery describes the exhibit:
The exhibition aims to explore the modalities through which information circulates in the digital era. The artist investigates the way we receive and address digital data, and how we position ourselves towards such an endless flow of information. Nowadays our accounts are always connected, even if we turn off our computers. E-mails arrive at any time, and so do news – the Internet does not know any closing hour. We are always “in line on-line,” while believing ourselves to be off line.
When looked at from this point of view, Judith Hopf’s concrete cast Snakes seems to force a break in this ongoing newsfeed. In his Postscript on the Societies of Control, Gilles Deleuze defines the snake, with its physical flexibility, as a symbol of the society of control in which we live. Deleuze compares the serpent to the man of control who is “undulatory, in orbit, in a continuous network” – a person who is asked to be always ready for processes of constant physical and mental changes, in order to fit into society and its needs. Judith Hopf’s snake sculptures, however, become petrified in an ironic contrast: while showing their teeth and tongues, built out of printed emails and newspapers, the rest of their usually supple bodies look static and stuck somewhere in a system of endless variables provided by the net and its geometry.
While the “frozen” information has been sent from one gallery space to the other, a snake sneaks out from the wall in the second room, where a group of brick stone sculptures is on view. With this new series, titled Problem, the artist tries to find forms that are able to represent different stages of limitations occurring through the imagination of someone in a constant state of flux.
With the video animation More (2015), also on view at the gallery, Judith Hopf seems to ask for a possibility of self-positioning while looking at the world through a bird’s-eye view perspective – a point of view provided by navigation systems such as Google Maps. Inspired by the film Powers of Ten by Ray and Charles Eames, Judith Hopf animates a zoom from outer space into an inner world, questioning if, through the use of modern technologies, we are actually enlarging or rather mining our understanding of distances and of other complex possible views of the world we live in.
Judith Hopf (b. 1969, Germany) lives and works in Berlin. Her selected solo exhibitions include MORE, Neue Galerie, Kassel (2015); Untitled (1-4), Praxes, Berlin (2014); A Line May Lie, Kunsthalle Lingen Kunstverein, Lignen; Testing Time, Studio Voltaire, London; From Down, From Up & in Between, Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples (all 2013); Malmö Konsthall, Malmö, Sweden; Judith Hopf: end rhymes and openings, Grazer Kunstverein, Graz (both 2012); Nose up!, Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe (2008); Türen (with Henrik Olesen), Portikus, Frankfurt/Main (2007); Secession, Vienna (2006); What do you look like, a crypto demonic mystery, Casco Institute for Art and Design, Utrecht (2006); Kunstwerke Berlin (2006). Judith Hopf has participated in group exhibitions such as the 8th Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool; Puddle, pothole, portal, Sculpture Center, Long Island City (both 2014); Made in LA, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2013); Triennale for Video Art, Mechelen; and dOCUMENTA13, Kassel (both 2012). In 2016 Judith Hopf will hold a solo exhibition at Museion, Bozen. She is currently teaching Fine Art at the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main.
Text (edited) and images courtesy of the artist and kaufmann repetto. Photographs by Andrea Rossetti.
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