Judith Hopf

Judith Hopf, Senza titolo, 2013. Courtesy l’artista e Kaufmann Repetto, Milano. In comodato a Madre – museo d’arte contemporanea Donnaregina, Napoli. Foto © Amedeo Benestante. | Judith Hopf, Untitled, 2013. Courtesy the artist and Kaufmann Repetto, Milano. On loan to Madre – museo d’arte contemporanea Donnaregina, Napoli. Photo © Amedeo Benestante.

The artist Judith Hopf (Berlin, 1969) studied in Berlin in the years immediately after the Fall of the Wall, when the climate was lively and fertile and the German capital became an international center of attention for artists and galleries. The unified city was changing more and more each day, artists began working together, and East Berlin’s large spaces took on new functions. Within this context of new-found freedom Hopf develops an artistic practice that incorporates different types of media, from the installation to the video, from print to terracotta, and she often also collaborates with other artists.

The element that is common to these expressive forms seems to be an ironic way of looking at reality, irony that the artist at times expresses with bitter, even pungent sentiment, and at other times with a suspended and poetic gaze. We can catch sight of the Dada and Surrealist influence that characterizes Hopf’s work, not just in this sense of complex and composite energy but also in the use the artist often makes of everyday objects, which she presents by overturning their common functions with the purpose of proposing a novel interpretation of what is usually seen as being “banal.”

Untitled, the work which is part of the collection, was made in 2013 on the occasion of the artist’s solo show at the Fondazione Morra Greco in Naples and it is an example of this artistic practice. Three ropes are raised with a wavy movement that might be that of a serpent drawn by the music of a snake charmer; the installation extends to the upper level where, on the contrary, the ropes give the impression of piercing the floor. The work is created as part of a more complex installation project, in which the artist – as often occurs in her work – came to terms with the physical properties and cultural identity of the exhibition space, and by translation of the city of Naples. The exhibition focused on the contrast between the heavenly dimension and the infernal one (the “above” and “below” of Christian- Catholic iconography), and it drew from a personal interpretation of Naples’ cultural tradition, in which the celebration of life and the acceptance of death coexist like two sides of the same coin.

Inspired by the wooden props still present in Palazzo Caracciolo, applied after the 1980 earthquake with the purpose of holding up the building’s structure, the artist realized a series of interventions that joined the spaces between the floors: however, while some of the structure-works recalled the form of the scaffolding and served as installation supports for the works, stretching from the ground floor to the upper floor, these ropes stray over like an ironic and surreally unstable presence, also evoking an assemblage of moods and themes that we often find in Hopf’s work, that is, a state of constriction and imprisonment needing to be overcome, a desire for subjective affirmation that is instilled in the structures of the real to undermine them, and a need to rebel and break away from such patterns.

AR