Judith Hopf

Testing Time

A new film commission by Judith Hopf together with a series of sculptural works, made specifically for the exhibition. This exhibition was the artist’s first solo show in a UK public gallery.

Hopf’s work focuses on how our social environments shape us, influence us, and by extension thereby exclude us from ourselves. Hopf uses a wide variety of techniques such as sculpture, installation, film and performance, often engaging subjects and materials that can be found in the immediate environment.

In her installations for Documenta 13 a series of masks were formed from computer packaging and drinking glasses balanced to create a precarious bamboo forest. Such an approach can be thought of in connection to Bricolage, revealing a socio-political order latent in ready-to-hand materials.

For her presentation at Studio Voltaire, Hopf’s new film work draws upon references to silent cinema and feminist film material from the suffragette era. A tented environment to house the film is accompanied by a series of sculptural works taking the form of a ‘flock’ of concrete sheep.

Following on from her commission for Frieze Film, Some Ends of Things (2011) depicting an egg-person wandering around the hallways of a modernist building, Hopf’s new work takes the architecture of a modernist home as its context. In this new work Hopf recreates a narrative from the suffragette film Le Bateau de Léontine (1911) in which a girl is shown in the rebellious act of flooding her family home, sailing a toy boat in the floodwater apparently oblivious to the resulting chaos around her. The pleasure taken in this rebellious action reinstates the power of the individual to open a gap in social hierarchy. In Hopf’s work contrasting elements of a pristine modernist architecture and the free-flowing, anarchic force of water merge in the space of the film. Staging her work in a domestic environment Hopf powerfully conveys how emancipatory possibilities of desire and action may be pent up, waiting to brim over in the most everyday scenarios.

This exhibition is a part of Not Our Class, Studio Voltaire’s programme of commissions and education projects that through research and practice take the work of Jo Spence as a starting point for investigating the legacy and potentials of her work in relation to contemporary culture and life.

Supported by The Henry Moore Foundation, Outset Contemporary Art Fund and Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen.

With kind assistance from the Judith Hopf exhibition circle: Louise Clarke, Peter Currie & Alex Zachary, Kaufmann Repetto, Milan, Valeria & Gregorio Napoleone, Stephan Tanbin Sastrawidjaja, Deborah Schamoni, Munich, Russell Tovey and Thea Westreich Wagner & Ethan Wagner.

  1. Judith Hopf (b. 1969, Germany) is based in Berlin. Recent solo exhibitions include Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples (2013), Kunsthalle Lingen, Lingen (2013), Malmö Konsthall, Malmö (2012) and Grazer Kunstverein, Graz (2012). Hopf participated in Documenta 13, Kassel and is represented by Kaufmann Repetto, Milan.

  2. Judith Hopf, Testing Time, 2013. Installation View, Studio Voltaire, London. Courtesy of the artist, Kaufmann/Repetto, Milan and Deborah Schamoni, Munich. Photo: Andy Keate.

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