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judith hopf

Some End of Things

Kunstmuseum Basel, Basel
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Some End of Things

This group exhibition explores the dynamics of contemporary art production. The participating artists approach the question of whether and to which extent process-oriented works commit- ted to the transitory, to the gestural and provisional, can nonetheless address crucial questions of aesthetics. A common feature of their work is what one might call an uncertainty of form, its disengagement from determined contexts of meaning, combining – usually in humorous ways – a sort of hyper-presence with an aesthetic of withdrawal.

Judith Hopf’s work, for example, unfolds with disharmonious and slapstick situations studded with par- odies on everyday life. In the video work from which the show takes its title, Some End of Things: The Conception of Youth, 2011, an egg roams an atrium in a Modernist building, ascends flights of stairs, travels down corridors and skywalks: continually failing to gain entry to the structure of glass, steel, and concrete. As the video proceeds, its comedy grows increasingly absurd, and the physical barrier beco- mes unequivocally a metraphor for social and cultural exclusion.

The works of Nora Schultz, meanwhile, provoke disruptions and gaps by means of deliberate pain- terly or sculptural gestures. Her art foregrounds works that, quite literally, bear physical traces of their production. Production as such plays a central part in her prints, printing machines, installations, and performances and always remains recognizable as a process.

Michaela Eichwald’s works similarly explore the production of art as an unfinished and open-ended pro- cess. Her collages, paintings, and objects directly address this aspect of incompletion. Her sculptures look like aggregations of mundane objects such as needles, teabags, cables, and buttons embedded
in synthetic resin objects that often elicit the form of hands or lamp-like objects. If the resin didn’t hold them in place, the perpetually mutable chance arrangements would always be threatened by disinteg- ration the very next moment.

The exhibition illustrates interconnections and discontinuities, repetitions and contradictions. There is no linear narrative and perpetual shifts of perspective take precedence. Everything is in motion, and a productive destabilization is evidence that everything is in flux and capable of transmutation: the flee- ting gesture, into an abiding memory; the controlled form, into a makeshift arrangement; architectural space, into a dynamic web of sounds and personal associations.

The artists invited to contribute to the exhibition turn their attention resolutely to social processes, relying on art as an autonomous space in which the usual standards are displaced and the familiar is subjected to various treatments of fragmentation and transformation.

The diverse practices defy integration into a conclusive narrative or a cohesive context, instead reflec- ting a desire to elude harmonization. Many of the artist’s works within the exhibition point directly to parallel projects outside of the museum walls – also perhaps symptomatic of an expanded notion of a continually reinventable artistic practice. The observation of such heterogeneity and the artists’ free- floating praxis raises the question of the present anew.

 

Michaela Eichwald (geb. 1967), David Hammons (geb. 1943), Judith Hopf (geb. 1969), Fabian Marti (geb. 1979), Ariane Müller (geb. 1964), Jewyo Rhii (geb. 1971), Nora Schultz (geb. 1975), Anicka Yi (geb. 1971)