Judith Hopf

Untitled (Bench sculpture), 2016, featuring More, 2015
Untitled (Table sculpture), 2016, featuring Lily’s Laptop, 2013
Untitled (Plinth Structure), 2016, featuring The Evil Faerie, 2007
Galerie de l’UQAM

In her sculptures, installations and videos, German artist Judith Hopf transfigures modest settings and ordinary materials into droll, sometimes even stupid expressions of humanistic values. The artist herself describes her working method as an attempt to do something “that doesn’t put me in a bad mood.” The small scale and low resolution of most of Hopf’s works stem from her belief that when it comes to human beings expressing themselves, they should enlist whatever means are at hand. Claude Lévi-Strauss’ concept of bricolage resonates with the works Hopf conceived for Le Grand Balcon. She designed simple, but perforated furniture (a table, a bench) that incorporates screens featuring some of her absurdist films that evoke contemporary experience in a society of overstretching, burnout and chronic exhaustion.

The Evil Faerie, a collaboration with Henrik Olesen, is a remake of Fluxfilm No. 25, The Evil Faerie (1966) by structuralist filmmaker Owen Land, in which a detailed title sequence is followed only by the single gesture of an unknown actor. In Hopf’s and Olesen’s version, filmed on a rooftop in Prenzlauerberg in Berlin, a happily smiling actor flaps his hands as if they were wings.

Lily’s Laptop is an updated adaptation of the Pathé Brothers’ suffragette film Le Bateau de Léontine (1911). As with many suffragette films from the silent era, a domestic worker destroys a bourgeois apartment. The relations of power and employment are, for a moment, led astray, upended in a distinctly comic style.

The video animation More offers a bird’s-eye view of the world, immediately invoking Google maps-like navigation systems. As with Lily’s Laptop, however, Hopf connects these associations with a reference from the history of cinema, namely Charles and Ray Eames’ film Powers of Ten (1977). Hopf’s animated zoom starts in outer space and moves into an inner world. Are we, in fact, enlarging our understanding of distances thanks to modern technologies or rather impairing such insight?

Presented by La Biennale de Montréal in collaboration with Le Livart.