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Galerie Perrotin is pleased to present the first solo exhibition of Gregor Hildebrandt in Hong Kong, opening on March 12.

When Gregor Hildebrandt moved into his Berlin apartment in April of 2010, he was welcomed to his new home by a discarded, worn down doormat with the Chinese characters “Come in Peace / Leave in Peace”. The wise, old doormat, had entered his world by chance, and in all of its dormant glory, was coming by hazard. Embracing chance, he saw it as a good omen of security and a priceless deterrent for thieves, as no one would suspect anything of value behind the door it guarded, and vowed to show it, should the opportunity present itself, at the threshold of his first solo exhibition in Hong Kong. That future is now.

The coming by hazard doormat is an apt signifier for Hildebrandt’s work. The doormat, like the vinyl records, VHS and cassette tapes that lie at the foundation of his work, is a lyrical recording device. It tracks the footsteps of all of those who have come and gone, compressing time, grime, and memory into an object that acts as a portal into another space. By placing this “poetic” object at the threshold, Hildebrandt is transporting his audience into an enigmatic memory and cryptic simulation of his home life.

The Talking Heads sang, “Home is where I want to be” on the 1983 album “Speaking in Tongues”, and the theatre of the domestic interior and the mutability of language and communication across cultures and time are very much the main themes on display.

Visual patterns from everyday objects offer a glimpse into his home, inspirations, and personal relationships. They are transformed into positive/negative cassette tape paintings: a handbag, a blouse, a breakfast-in-bed tray, and a book by Martin Luther, the Protestant German friar whose translation of the Bible from Latin into German had an enormous cultural impact in the creation of a standard version of the German language. Hildebrandt highlights the “spiritual quest for the infinite along the vertical axis mundi, connecting the earth & the celestial vault”, as formally articulated by Brancusi in 1918, and in a version of an “endless column” formed with molded vinyl records that appear to stack like musical warped galaxies.

A quasi-religious Pieta-like photograph of Hildebrand’s head resting in the lap of his partner, the artist Alicja Kwade, adds to the themes of love, romance, and security within the sacred home. The fragility of the image, and by extension, his relationship and all relationships, is heightened as one realizes upon closer inspection that the single image is held together in a cabinet by, and the sum of, a multitude of layers of tiny cassette boxes.

“Coming by Hazard”, 2014. Digital pigment print. 55.5 x 74 cm / 21 3/4 x 29 1/8 inches

Courtesy Galerie Perrotin

Hildebrandt has created another new photograph of an etching by his influential teacher, Thomas Gruber, from his home art collection paying homage to Marivaux’s 1730 renowned romantic comedy theatre work, “LE JEU DE L’AMOUR ET DU HASARD” (“The Game of Love and Chance”). By shooting it in the reflection of one of his Spiegel (Mirror) Paintings and flipping the mirrored image in Photoshop, the photograph then becomes the invitation poster.

This referential hall of mirrors continues as the black magnetic tape of an unspooled VHS copy of a performance of Le Jeu de L’Amour et du Hasard is transformed into an all-enveloping, elegant wall curtain which wraps the entire exhibition space. The walls of the gallery space are de-activated and re-activated by being made negative. From this new void, the cassette tape paintings then hang in cut out sections of the wall and curtain, functioning like windows with a view into the romantic enigma of domestic life. The audience’s reflection is mirrored in the curtains as they themselves become woven into the fabric and patterns of the drama.

A tightly wound, painstakingly produced cassette tape wheel painting brings the exhibition literally and figuratively full circle; by chance I discovered the magnetic tape for recording sound was invented in Germany by Fritz Pfleumer in 1928, and developed in this fashion. Once again, we pass through a time portal to Hildebrandt’s heritage.

Hildebrandt’s work is lyrical and poetic, speaking in tongues without making a sound. Coming by Hazard recites themes of romance and home within collective memory consciousness connected by chance across generations of time and space. It is open and inviting: come as you are, or come by hazard, it may or may not be up to you.

Slater Bradley

  • 屏幕快照 2015-02-07 上午12.25.30

    屏幕快照 2015-02-07 上午12.25.30