Oct 31 – Dec 20, 2013
At the center of Gregor Hildebrandt’s work (b. 1974, Germany, works and lives in Berlin) culture, and music in particular, serve as main elements – both physically and symbolically. A main material used in his works are music and video tapes, as physical representations of personal memories and experiences. The tapes are taken from various sources, amongst them being audio tapes of his favorite musicians, VHS tapes of films that had influenced him, and others. The tapes are then attached to canvases to create a painting-like surface, or meticulously stretched side by side to create one big surface, like the one created at the center of the gallery space for the current exhibition.
Using obsolete media and materials as ready-mades breathes new life into them, allowing Hildebrandt to incorporate personal material in his works in a subtle manner. The outcome is abstract, while the narrative is burnt on the monochromatic surface. It is invisible to the naked eye, and can only be known of. This technique creates a medium that is between painting and sculpture, a minimalistic object that contains massive amounts of information on it.
Hildebrandt’s new works showcased in Du stehst im Licht, du stehst im Schatten were created based on a scene from the 1948 Vitorio de Sica film “The Bicycle Thieves” (Original: Ladri di biciclette). Antonio, the film’s protagonist, desperate of searching for his stolen bicycles, goes to see a clairvoyant that will hopefully give him a clue as to their whereabouts. The exhibition’s title is a quote taken from that scene, and the works in it reflect that quote as they position the viewer alternately between light darkness. This transition climates with the main installation in the gallery – a “curtain” made of tapes, created by Hildebrandt especially for the space, separating it into two parts. The curtain’s back structure is intentionally left exposed, while its front is a dark screen shadowing the entire view. These tapes all come from a VHS tape of The Bicycle Thieves, so as the rest of the tapes in the exhibition.
Hildebrandt makes art that is based on nostalgia, whether by using old cassette and video tapes, or by reminiscing 1940’s cinema. However, his works feel extremely contemporary, and polished almost. As the title of the show implies, Hildebrandt’s work is directed at the duality and ambivalence that is part of the human experience, being reflected both by his use of medium and subjects.
In recent years Hildebrandt has participated in exhibitions at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris (2012), in the group show “Ich bin ein Berliner” in the Helena Rubinstein pavilion for contemporary art in Tel Aviv (2012) and in the Miami Art Museum (2011).