Press Release, August 2019
What is going to happen next? That’s important. We need to have another goal.
And our goal is clear: it’s to grow out of these roles. – Virgin Mary.
Daniel Hopp stages social circumstances and successively orchestrates his protagonists in precisely edited video works. His artistic practice brings together professional actors, relatives, friends and himself in situational response to a predetermined exploration. Channelled through intense and oftentimes confrontational group dynamics, his performances bring to light the eternal conflict between individual desire and the need for social belonging. For his video works, Hopp retrospectively condenses footage of these stagings and confronts it with documentary material from his research. His characters’ identities are not derived from the protagonists' autobiographies, but amalgamated from scripted acting, self-conscious reflection and unforeseeable interaction; thus mirroring the fictitiousness, respectively the impossibility of being “true“ to – or even knowing – oneself.
His new, two-part video installation Foulplay evolves around the figure of Robin Hood and the struggle of a group of acquaintances to come to terms with their respective urges to do or be good, while not really trusting the idea of individual heroism. Initiated by an invitation to perform in Hamburg at the “Summer of Knowledge” festival in June 2019, Hopp consecutively organised a collective seminar, a trip to Pakistan with a camera operator, and a workshop following their return with rehearsal phase and subsequent stage performance at the Town Hall Square (Yayacla (Robin Hood)). Aspects from all three of the project’s components comprise this work. Its participants gradually became enmeshed in the project’s encompassing queries, and footage from all three sequences make up the source material for these films.
On their way to figure out a solution that everybody would be happy with, it turns out that foul play is inevitable. Though each participant approaches his or her prescribed role reflexively, positions and beliefs collide, and the one true path is nowhere to be found. All joint efforts to “change the rules” and turn Robin Hood from a classical male role model into a socio-communal principle are doomed to fail.
Which doesn’t mean to say that one has to try anyway.
– Ellen Blumenstein
Born in Vienna, Daniel Hopp currently resides between Hamburg and London. Recipient of the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes scholarship since 2015, Hopp was awarded the Hiscox Kunstpreis at Hamburg’s Hochscule für bildende Künste in 2017. In 2018 he completed undergraduate studies with Jeanne Faust and Anselm Reyle at the HFBK Hamburg, supplemented by Felix Ensslin at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart. In autumn 2019, Daniel Hopp will begin the graduate program, Contemporary Art Practice – Moving Image at the Royal College of Art in London.
In recent years, Daniel Hopp has exhibited at the Solitude Project Space, Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart; Junge Akademie, Akademie der Künste in Berlin; the Kunstverein Schwerin; the Kunstverein Jesteburg; the Videonale Parcours in Bonn; and the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin to name a few.
Foulplay marks Daniel Hopp’s first solo exhibition in Scandinavia. Ellen Blumenstein is a German author and curator currently holding the position of Artistic Director at HafenCity Hamburg.
Exhibition period: August 29 - September 14, 2019.
Opening hours: Thu-fri: 14-17.30 and sat: 13-15.