Judith Hopf

BNLMTL 2016 – The Grand Balcony

Curator: Philippe Pirotte

Artist: Judith Hopf

October 21, 2016 - December 10, 2016

Opening: October 20, 2016, 5:30 pm

La Biennale de Montréal and the Galerie de l’UQAM are presenting the work of German artist Judith Hopf, as part of BNLMTL 2016 – The Grand Balcony. Hopf will show new hybrid sculptures integrating past video pieces.

The 2016 edition of La Biennale de Montréal calls for a materialist and sensualist approach. It recasts the pursuit of sensual pleasures, making a case for its decisive role in everyday life and political decision-making. The Grand Balcony bets on the liberating potential of art and invites us to rethink both the (im)possibility of an emancipation through pleasure – and its urgency.

The exhibition

In her sculptures, installations and videos, 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. For The Grand Balcony, she designed simple, but perforated furniture (a table, a bench, a plinth) that incorporates screens featuring some of her absurdist films that evoke contemporary experience in a society of overstretching, burnout and chronic exhaustion.

BNLMTL 2016 – The Grand Balcony

This edition of La Biennale de Montréal draws loosely on Jean Genet’s Le Balcon, in which the play’s high porch is a space of contestation between revolution and counter-revolution, reality and illusion. As stated by curator Philippe Pirotte, “The Grand Balcony is simultaneously playful and fatalistic in its presentation of rooms, corridors and balconies. Deflecting every attempt to fit in or create an overarching narrative, to be introduced into a system of classification or to be pinned down, the exhibition becomes a place of fallacy, where things can go astray”. The Grand Balcony was conceptualized and curated by Philippe Pirotte in consultation with curatorial advisors Corey McCorkle, Aseman Sabet and Kitty Scott, and in close collaboration with Sylvie Fortin, Executive and Artistic Director of La Biennale de Montréal. bnlmtl.org

The artist

Born in Berlin in 1969, Judith Hopf lives and works in Berlin. Her works have been featured in solo exhibitions at the Museion—museo d’arte moderna e contemporanea di Bolzano, Bolzano, Italy (2016); kaufmann repetto, Milan, Italy (2015); Neue Galerie—Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel (mhk), Kassel, Germany (2015); PRAXES Center for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany (2014); Kunsthalle Lingen, Lingen, Germany (2013); Studio Voltaire, London, Britain (2013); Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples, Italy (2013); Malmö Konsthall, Malmö, Sweden (2012); Grazer Kunstverein, Graz, Austria (2012); Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, Germany (2008), Portikus, Frankfurt, Germany (2007); Secession, Vienna, Austria (2006); Casco—Office for Art, Design and Theory, Utrecht, Netherlands (2006); and Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany (2006). Hopf has participated in the 8th Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool (2014); Contour 2013—6th Biennial of Moving Image, Mechelen, Belgium (2013); dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany (2012) and in group exhibitions at Sculpture Center, Long Island City, NY (2014) and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2013).

The curator

Philippe Pirotte (born in Belgium in 1972) is an art historian, curator, critic, and Director of the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste Städelschule and of Portikus, leading centres for contemporary art in Germany and beyond. Pirotte was one of the co-founders of the contemporary art centre objectif_exhibitions in Antwerp, Belgium. From 2005 to 2011, he was Director of the internationally renowned Kunsthalle Bern in Switzerland where he organized solo exhibitions by artists such as Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven, Owen Land, Oscar Tuazon, Jutta Koether, Allan Kaprow, and Corey McCorkle. From 2004 to 2013, Pirotte held the position of Senior Advisor at the Rijksakademie for Visual Arts in Amsterdam. In 2012, he became Adjunct Senior Curator at the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. He also served as Advising Program Director for the Sifang Art Museum in Nanjing and is an advisor for the Kadist Art Foundation (Paris/San Francisco).

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