Wednesday 13 February 2019

Hipkiss - Pit Land (Against Sea)

Image: Hipkiss, Capitule 11, 2018 (archive # 1139) mixed media on paper 42 x 40cm, Courtesy the artists / Delmes & Zander, Cologne 


Pit Land (Against Sea)

Curated by Monika Koencke Amorosa

February 23 – March 29, 2019 
Opening: February 22, 6-9 pm

Working together as HIPKISS since their first encounter in the early 1980s, Alpha and Chris Mason (*both 1964) draw inspiration from seemingly disparate fields such as architecture, ornithology, punk, ecology, feminism, and entomology. Their work reflects a fascination with birds, landscapes (both human and natural), and the compositional elements of mathematics, a subtle balancing act between science and art. Addressing such themes as gender issues, politics, and sociology, their works are the visual transcription of a narrative born of an ongoing collaborative dialogue. Their meticulous drawing technique renders an organic texture which incorporates hidden discourses, private jokes, and fragments of the every day.

The central pillar of their latest project PIT LAND (AGAINST SEA) concerns the futility of a ‘battle’ - or even polarisation – between the two elements, both of which are fundamental and unavoidable. For this project, Hipkiss have chosen plant-inspired, rather than industrially themed motifs, including a handpicked selection of self-defensive kinds of weeds and wild plants such as Hogweed, Melancholy Thistle, Thornapple, Hedge Mustard - an instinctive response to the recent global reinforcement of patriarchy and the unpredictability of nature manifest in climate change. Using graphite, ink and gold leaf on paper, Hipkiss have opted for a vertical, totem or tower-like composition (with all its symbolism of the irrational, the man-made, the hubris that these might entail) and structured by a series of concentric elements that bring to mind the circular outlines of Robert Hooke’s 17th century microscopic observations as much as they recall the rotoreliefs of Marcel Duchamp. There is a clear homage to early botanical and natural history illustrators (Elizabeth Blackwell, Charles Plumier, Maria Merian) as well as pioneers and mavericks of photography (Anna Atkins’ cyanotype photograms and Blossfeldt's stripped-back masterpieces, for instance) – to all the women and men that freed the eye and mind to new perspectives and to new realities.

In this sense, PIT LAND (AGAINST SEA) can be seen as a response to the darkness, the misuse of power (physical, financial, political, religious) and the urge for destruction. It announces a gentler, less nihilistic revolution kindled by duality and partnership, a revolution which uses the best of humanity, male - female, dark - light, zero - sum, to conjure a new kind of strength that might restore biodiversity, the environment, and essentially dignity and equality within the human race.

The exhibition PIT LAND (AGAINST SEA) at Delmes & Zander explores the first part of the dichotomy within an extensive, ongoing project initiated by Hipkiss in 2018, and comprises 16 new works (Capitules, Instars, Imagoes).

* HIPKISS is the pseudonym of Alpha (*1964 in Widnes, UK) and Chris Mason (*1964 in Perivale, UK). The artists live and work in the south of France. Solo shows include Bulwark at The Drawing Center, New York, Drawings at INTUIT, Chicago and Mercury Springtime at John Michael Kohler Art Center, Sheboygan. Hipkiss have featured in group exhibitions at Tate Britain, London; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; La Maison Rouge, Paris; New Museum, New York; David Zwirner (System and Vision in collaboration with Delmes & Zander) and others. Works by Hipkiss are found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; FRAC Occitanie, Whitworth, Manchester and the Treger/Saint Silvestre Collection amongst others. Hipkiss are a three-time recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Award. Delmes & Zander has represented Hipkiss since 2005.
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Friday 1 February 2019

VICE writing about Albrecht Becker

Image: Albrecht Becker, untitled, 1982, Photocollage, 13 x 19 cm

VICE writing about Albrecht Becker "Wie dieser Tattoo-Pionier die Nazis überlebte und zum Body-Positivity-Symbol wurde"


(...) "Wenn wir heute offen über Body Positivity reden können, liegt es auch an Menschen wie Albrecht Becker. Denn geschämt hat Becker sich nie. Für nichts. Nicht für seine Sexualität. Nicht für seinen Körper. Nicht für seine Experimente – obwohl sie manchmal missglückten, eines davon entstellte seinen Penis für immer. Auch deshalb entdeckt ihn die Kunstwelt gerade wieder. Die Kölner Galerie Delmes und Zander hat Beckers Fotografien in ihr Programm aufgenommen. Und vom 7. bis 10. März hängen seine Fotos auf der "Independent"-Kunstmesse in New York."

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Tissue Magazine writing about Albrecht Becker

Image: Albrecht Becker, untitled, 1962, Photocollage, 19.2 x 13.2 cm, Courtesy Collection Hervé Joseph Lebrun


Tissue Magazine writing about Albrecht Becker "In a Pervert World"


On the occasion of their 30th anniversary, Delmes & Zander show one the most ruthless and uncompromising artists of German post-war history. The works of Albrecht Becker are not only impressive contemporary documents, but in the current era of ‘body shaming’ or ‘body positivity’ they are as fascinating and relevant as at the time of their creation. Comprehensive and affectionate, the Cologne gallery shows, among other works, Rosa von Praunheim’s film ‘Liebe und Leid’ about the self-proclaimed autoerotic and masochist.

When Paragraph 175 of the German Criminal Code was abolished in 1994 and homosexuality was no longer punishable in Germany after more than 100 years, Albrecht Becker already looked back on a career spanning several decades. His photographic self-portrait began in the middle of the darkest chapter in German history. Detained as a homosexual by the Nazis for three years in the fall of 1935, during World War II he pledged himself to serve on the Russian front, where he began to modify his body and discover his lust for pain. As an award-winning production designer of the post-war era, he provocatively pushed artistic self-staging to the extreme, staging his tattooed body and his sexuality uncompromisingly in hundreds of pictures over four decades.

As the protagonist, director and cinematographer of his works, he uses his own body as a canvas and places himself in carefully composed flm sets. The contrast between Becker’s appearance as an elegant gentleman and his accidental and intentional body transformations and erotic depictions creates a special charm. Accentuated by experimental post-production techniques, Becker’s work addresses the themes of time, sexuality and fetishism, often with a wink, his physical explorations and their portrayals represent a call for liberality and serenity.

Curated by Lucas Foletto Celinski, the exhibition Albrecht Becker – Libidinal Motion continues until February at Delmes & Zander, Lindenstraße 20, in Cologne. In March, Delmes & Zander will present Albrecht Becker in a solo exhibition at Independent Art Fair in New York City.

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Tissue Magazine