From February 22 to March 22, 2013, the Fondazione Morra Greco will be hosting From Down, From Up & In Between, the first solo exhibition in a Neapolitan institution by the German artist Judith Hopf.
The exhibition, organized by the Fondazione Donnaregina per le arti contemporanee in collaboration with the Fondazione Morra Greco, is part of the Progetto XXI exhibition project. Organized as a cycle of thirteen events, the project seeks to explore the most recent artistic output, still debated and not wholly affirmed, through which it intends to contribute to researching, sustaining and displaying the most advanced experimental art, new ideas, themes and contemporary trends.
Underlying the formalization of Judith Hopf’s work is an ironic, playful and subversive attitude which, through sculpture, video and performance art, analyzes the contradictions of contemporary life constantly defined by social conventions. Relations between the individual and the relevant context of the object become the focal point for this survey of the artist, who sees her practice as a collective process.
The exhibition, organized at Palazzo Caracciolo di Avellino, stems from Judith Hopf’s reflections on the city of Naples and the deep roots of its culture, imbued with an altogether special form of spirituality. The total assimilation of a conception of the world with a pagan matrix made possible the development of a relationship with the system of Catholic beliefs that almost eliminates the concept of transcendence to relate every event to a human sphere. Even the tension between heaven and hell, the death instinct and the power of life and beauty is configured through a total mingling of the two spheres. The exhibition consists of a site-specific project that seeks to represent this cultural dimension and the tension created by two antithetical forces. The three floors of the exhibition are brought together in dialogue by a wooden structure which incorporates the shoring from the 1980 earthquake, still present in some parts of the Palazzo Caracciolo di Avellino. These structures spread through the three spaces to symbolize the coexistence and commingling of the infernal, heavenly and earthly dimensions.
On the ground floor, the shoring acts as the support for three paintings on ceramic tiles depicting the comic, benevolent, and at the same time terrifyingly phantasmagoric figures that surround the viewers. On the floor below there are further tiles characterized by painting that leaves more space to the imagination as a series of pointed pillars rise from the ground. The upper floor, finally, is occupied by a series of silk prints.
The decision to place these structures in the exhibition space stems from a desire to represent a dimension in the balance between the celebration of life and acceptance of death, while the choice of the subjects depicted recalls the Neapolitan artistic output, rich in a multiplicity of representations that constitute a memento mori.
To paraphrase Freud, it really seems that during Judith Hopf’s trip to Naples, transposed into the space of Fondazione Morra Greco, the pleasure principle is constantly placed at the service of the death wish to represent a culture which, as the artist states, “it would take more than a lifetime to understand.”
(Text by Anna Cuomo)