Visit the largest exhibition of Gregor Hildebrandt to date!
Mystery, music & poetry from Berlin. The artist's analog universe is presented by more than eighty of his works, nostalgic smell of old vinyl & monumental installations included. The show full of dark visual poetry is Gregor Hildebrandt's first solo exhibition in the Czech Republic.
Bearing the poetic title A Blink of an Eye and the Years are Behind Us, the exhibition is the largest ever exhibition of Berlin-based artist Gregor Hildebrandt’s work. On view at Kunsthalle Praha for five months—from 29 September 2022 to 13 February 2023.
The extensive retrospective exhibition—for the first time ever—gives Czech audiences a chance to discover Hildebrandt’s complex analogue universe filled with imagery made out of vinyl records and old magnetic tape, which emanate the melancholy of bands such as the legendary The Cure. Other pieces include an oversized chess piece and a monumental installation in the form of a monumental curtain made out of magnetic tape from old VHS cassettes.
The exhibition features more than eighty artworks. A few of these were created by Hildebrandt exclusively for this solo exhibition. These pieces are presented alongside a range of important loans from private collections and by five artworks from Kunsthalle Praha’s own collection.
The core focus of the exhibition is Hildebrandt’s mysterious visual poetry, which often thematizes the incessant march of time and its suspension in the form of nostalgic memories. These are often associated with analogue audio storage media, from early vinyls to rare audiotapes.
The exhibition will be supplemented with a series of concerts by musicians from Hildebrandt’s own label Grzegorzki Records. The rich program will further include restaged exhibitions of Hildebrandt’s friends, taking place inside a replica of his Berlin art project space— known as Grzegorzki Shows— which will be part of the main exhibition.
The aim of the supporting program, which will include guided tours, Sunday workshops, and movie screenings at the KunstKino, is to immerse the audience into the climate of openness of typical of Berlin’s distinctive contemporary art scene.
The multilayered, multidisciplinary project has been under preparation for over a year, led by Christelle Havranek, the Chief Curator at Kunsthalle Praha.
An established artist on the European art scene, Gregor Hildebrandt (*1974) has been working with analogue audio storage media for over twenty year. His works representing postindustrial culture include unconventional sculptures, installations, and paintings from pressed vinyl records, old VHS tapes, and extant audiotapes. Hildebrandt draws inspiration from a wide range of sources spanning literature, film, music, and architecture. In 2015, Hildebrandt became Professor of Painting and Graphics at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. The following year, he won the prestigious Falkenrot Preis. His work is held in renowned collections around the world, including the Centre Popmidou in Paris and the German Federal Collection of Contemporary Art, as well as important private collections such as the Margulies Collection in Miami and the Burger Collection in Hong Kong.
“I first saw an exhibition of Gregor Hildebrandt’s work in Paris in 2017. I was immediately intrigued by his way of working with analogue media and technologies. I myself grew up in France in the 1980s, during an era of mass consumerism, and already back then I was fascinated by artists such as Daniel Spoerri and Arman, who focused on discarded and found objects. In a way, I see Hildebrandt as a continuation of this historical trajectory, as he too creates artworks with the remnants of our society’s production that trigger both collective and personal memories, and question our relationship to things that are considered ordinary” explains curator Christelle Havranek, providing insight into the philosophy of the exhibition. The artworks presented can awaken nostalgic memories in their viewers, linked to the now repopularized analogue media for recording sound and video. These are known as time-based media and are based on technology and a logic of temporal duration. The incessant march of time is thematized in the very title of the exhibition, which is a variation on a verse by German poet and playwright Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
The exhibition covers an extensive segment of Hildebrandt’s oeuvre, from his artistic beginnings to his contemporary work. Visitors will even have the chance to see his first paintings made out of magnetic tape, created in the late 1990s—including the now iconic paintings inspired by the melancholic songs of the expressive British band The Cure—as well as monumental immersive installations, mosaics, and other objects produced during the 2000s. Hildebrandt is an artist who seeks to transform the exhibition space itself. For Kunsthalle Praha, he has created a large-scale installation made out of magnetic tape from VHS cassettes, which contains the 1950 movie Orpheus by French surrealist film director, poet, author, and artist Jean Cocteau.
Berlin in Prague
Hildebrandt’s exhibition also represents the first chapter of a series of solo exhibitions of internationally renowned artists held at Kunsthalle Praha. As was the case with the inaugural exhibition Kinetismus: 100 Years of Electricity, which welcomed 70,000 viewers, Hildebrandt’s mysterious artworks will fill two of Kunsthalle Praha’s three exhibition spaces, thus occupying an area of 840 square meters. The exhibition aims to familiarize visitors with Hildebrandt’s artistic approach, combining his own artwork with Berlin’s art and music scene. The performative component of the exhibition will be bolstered by several concerts and restaged formerly Berlin-based exhibitions, curated by Hildebrandt himself, which will take place at Kunsthalle Praha.
“For every exhibition at Kunsthalle Praha, a fundamental aspect is the interaction with the viewer. In the upcoming months, we will host two special concerts of bands from the label Grzegorzki Records, held on the occasion of small vernissages of Hildebrandt’s friends’ exhibitions, which will take place in a replica of Gregor’s Berlin showroom, known as Grzegorzki Shows, as part of the main exhibition,” explains Christelle Havranek, offering a glimpse of Hildebrandt’s expansive artistice meta-universe.
This universe includes the aforementioned Grzegorzki Shows, Hildebrandt’s own art project space in which he presents friends other artists’ work through an ongoing series of exhibitions. The original space is situated in the gatekeeper’s house below Hildebrandt’s studio in Berlin’s Wedding district. For the replica space at Kunsthalle Praha, Hildebrandt has curated a special series of four solo exhibitions previously on display at Grzegorzki Shows. Currently the exhibition of Robert Schmitt has been restaged, and will run until 31 October.
The upcoming events are the openings of Katharina Koppenwallner, accompanied by the alternative music group Walking Down Brenton Road (1 November 2022) and Frieder Böhnisch, supported by Munich-based electronic band ANNE (6 December 2022). The musicians performing are all signed to the label Grzegorzki Records, which Hildebrandt runs together with his partner, German-Polish artist Alicja Kwade.
According to Havranek, the aim of such a diverse supporting program is to fully immerse the Czech audience into the climate of openness of typical of Berlin’s distinctive contemporary art scene. Apart from evenings filled with art and music, visitors can also look forward to guided tours of the exhibition, weekly Sunday workshops, and lectures about Berlin’s music scene during the 1980s and 1990s, which heavily influenced Hildebrandt’s work. Furthermore, every last Wednesday of the month the newly opened Kunsthalle Bistro will be transformed into the KunstKino, where rare films personally selected by Hildebrandt will be screened.
The exhibition will naturally be accompanied by an exhibition catalog, co-designed by Kunsthalle Praha and Hildebrandt’s studio. “The photographic sequences capture the atmosphere of the exhibition and transport the viewer straight into its space. Further perspectives on and insights into Hildebrandt’s life are offered by Christelle Havranek’s curatorial text and an essay by Friedemann Hahn, Hildebrandt’s professor at the Kunsthochschule Mainz. The book also includes archival materials from Hildebrandt’s studio and from his art projects organized as part of Grzegorzki Shows, which provide insight into his creative process and ties with other artists, friends, students, and art lovers on an international scale,” reveals Kunsthalle Praha’s Director Ivana Goossen.
A Blink of an Eye and the Years are Behind Us
Ein Wimpernschlag und hinter uns die Jahre
Jedno mávnutí řas, a za námi jsou léta
29/9 2022—13/2 2023
Curator: Christelle Havranek