Andreas Hofer - Phantom Gallery
26 January - 8 March 2008
The exhibition opens this Saturday simultaneously in Zürich and Los Angeles:
Zürich: 26 January, 8 - 10pm
Los Angeles, 7556 Sunset Blvd: 26 January, 11am - 6pm
Andreas Hofer creates independent, highly complex visual worlds: hybrids of figures, signs, landscapes and scripts of varied and apparently unconnected origins which he describes as being "completely clean of art". His knowing defiance of the didactic in his appropriation of imagery sees comic superheroes and archvillains, generic political figures and icons of film and literary history - never from the artworld - coexisiting in realms that are difficult to place and read, and remarkably free of nostalgia. This sense of timelessness, both in terms of date and genre, is further complicated by Hofer's tendency to sign individual works 'Andy Hope 1930'. His alter ego remains fixed in a year of shortlived optimism and enormous social upheaval, leading to the dominance of ominous forces in Europe, notably National Socialism in his native Germany.
Hofer's interest in spaces that have been lived in, and in the traces of former things once within them, are central to Phantom Gallery. His love of doubling spaces, of confusing and dismantling boundaries, has led to the decision to open and show this exhibition simultaneously in two cities, both venues interconnected by a live video conference. In Zürich visitors enter a room within a room, a gallery within the gallery. While in Los Angeles the show appears as a gallery within a commercial stretch of a street, as a shop in the line of storefronts on Hollywood's Sunset Boulevard, the exhibitions themselves are unpopulated and empty. Paintings, items of furniture and fixtures have all been removed and are only present through the evidence of their having protected or coloured the surfaces of walls and floors over a number of years. They continue to exist for the artist in a kind of 'phantom zone'. A former living space that seems palpably present is simultaneously, and quite obviously, recognizable as an artificial setting and one in which the works, ordinarily the very reason for staging such an exhibition, are but shadows.
Having once lived in California, Hofer holds an abiding fascination with LA, evident in previous pieces such as Down the Hollywoodline (2001) and California Art Show (2002), and feels that the perfect location for such an unabashed project is within the materialistic environment that is Sunset Boulevard's shopping strip, although the actual 'site' of the Phantom Gallery is within a shadowy transition zone just beyond the reaches of film industry glitz and as yet untarnished by the ostentations of the new Los Angeles nightlife. As ever, Hofer continues to trawl the peripheries of modernism and the avant garde as fertile grounds for narratives and experiments with this show. Having previously painted the Black Square as 'a light-shy zombie' and taken over Warhols dry pop to freeze painting. Hofer restages the much beloved notion of abandoning 'art' for 'object' with The Phantom Gallery and its 'shadows of readymades'. But, since his 'shadows' are moveable, even able to be purchased, these icons of absence have entered another phase, of reflecting on their own history.
Andreas Hofer was born in 1963 in Munich and lives in Berlin. He has had solo exhibitions in 2007 in the MARTa Museum in Herford (The Long Tomorrow), at Metro Pictures in New York (Only Gods Could Survive) and in Paris (Sweet Troubled Souls), presented by Hauser & Wirth Zürich, London and Silverbridge. Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus in Munich dedicated the first comprehensive museum exhibition to Hofer in 2005, entitled Welt ohne Ende (World without end). Hofer's works have also been shown in numerous group exhibitions, as in Paul Thek. In the Context of Today's Contemporary Art, at ZKM Centre of Art and Media, Karlsruhe (until 30 March 2008) and There is never a stop and never a finish - In memoriam of Jason Rhoades at Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin. A catalogue accompanying the exhibition This Island Earth (2006) was published by Steidl and Hauser & Wirth and features texts by Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith and J. G. Ballard.
PHANTOM GALLERY will be documented by a forthcoming publication produced by Steidl Hauser & Wirth.
For further information and visual material, please contact:
HAUSER & WIRTH ZÜRICH, Tel. +41 44 446 80 50, firstname.lastname@example.org
GALLERY HOURS Tuesday to Friday 12 - 6pm, Saturday 11am - 5pm