MUNICH.- Sammlung Goetz
will present a major exhibition of the work of Andreas Hofer. More than 70 individual and multi-part works from the years 1995 to 2009 are being shown throughout the museum and in the BASE. As in other recent shows at Sammlung Goetz, the exhibition is curated by the artist himself, based on works already in the collection. These range from large-scale installations to paintings, drawings, collages and sculptures. Andreas Hofer has pulled together some of the groups of works in the collection in order to create situations that echo the mood of concentration that informed the exhibitions in which these works were originally displayed. He creates new atmospheres and self-contained spaces within the architectural framework of the museum. Few artists have developed an iconography as complex as that which Hofer has devised, making his art a vehicle for so many different atmospheric and narrative strands of fiction and the imagination. He not only addresses modernism, with all its signs and spectres from the parallel universes of contemporary popular culture but he also sifts through the detritus of past and present. And he not only confronts them with reality, but also with the inconceivable future and the imaginary past. The result is what the artist himself describes as a labyrinthine infinity.
Hofer draws his inspiration from many sources. One of them is the world of comics, though he uses that only as a starting point. Instead of appropriating them as in Pop Art, or reading them in a narrative way, he embellishes the figures, stories and landscapes with his own narrative and his own painterly style, which is something of a cross between comic-strip, Suprematism and Expressionism, or between Jack Kirby and Paul Klee. His approach is eclectic, involving overpainting, collages and cut-outs. As in science fiction, Hofers world defies the laws of physics, making it possible to journey to distant galaxies or travel through time to the prehistoric past and the utopian future. Extinct primordial beasts, SS thugs, flying superheroes, heroic warriors and aliens all meet in his works, sometimes embedded in landscapes reminiscent of Wassily Kandinskys early paintings. Hofer engages with art history, notably with the work of Edvard Munch and Kasimir Malevich, just as he does with Hollywood classics of the 1930s onwards, trashy B-movies or sci-fi films and comic strips. Hedy Lamarr, Frances Farmer, Veronica Lake, Gene Tierney, John Wayne and Charles Manson all play a role in his work, as do Spiderman and Batman, albeit as fragmented characters that he transfers into new and unexpected contexts.
In the installation Batman Gallery (2004), which introduces the exhibition on the upper floor of the museum, the superheros billowing cloak becomes a dynamic and mobile architectural sculpture forming the gallery space in which Hofer has arranged a selection of his works since 1995 to create a kind of mini-retrospective.
Andreas Hofer has created a new installation, Infinity Crisis, specially for this exhibition at Sammlung Goetz. Also located on the upper floor, it is an installation based on paintings from the collection, which he has worked into a wallpaper of repeated reproductions covering the entire room like a futuristic sci-fi cabinet designed to astonish and impress. Only on second glance do we realise that the original paintings themselves are actually hanging there too. This is not just visually confusing; it also addresses the issue of original and reproduction and raises questions about the chronological order in which the wallpaper and the paintings were created thereby presenting the exhibition situation itself as a mixture of fiction and reality.
On the lower floor, visitors enter into the cave-like installation Trans Time (2006), in which they can become captivatingly immersed. Hofers aim was to create a space that gives you a feeling of putting your head into a 3D image: a space that seems like a screen, but isnt, a space that is real and yet seems like a hologram, a space that is here, and yet at the same time elsewhere.
Hofer plays with fictitious identities and alter egos by taking on different roles and characters during the working process. This is reflected in his changing signatures, such as Andy Hope 1930, Ylla or Dead Jesus. These are not pseudonyms, but, as Hofer explains, the respective figures that stand between him and his work.
As in a comic strip, lettering, title and graphic design all play an important independent role in Hofers work. These components add a further dimension of content to the visual aspect and differ both formally, in their abbreviation, and semantically, considerably from the comic strip.
The collector Ingvild Goetz particularly admires the independence and quirkiness of Andreas Hofers art. His 2005 exhibition at the Lenbachhaus in Munich impressed her so much that she has been following his progress ever since, and regularly acquiring works by him.
Andreas Hofer was born in Munich in 1963. From 1991-1997, he trained at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich and Chelsea College of Art and Design in London. Since 2000, he has been living and working in Berlin. By the mid-1990s his work including his large-scale installations was being shown in solo and group exhibitions not only in Germany, but at international galleries and museums. Some of his early exhibitions include Welt ohne Ende at the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus in Munich (2005), Goetz meets Falckenberg at the Kulturstiftung Phoenix Art in Hamburg (2005), and The Long Tomorrow at the MARTa Herford in Herford (2007). Hofers exhibitions are frequently accompanied by publications designed by the artist himself.