Gallery Sobering, Paris
Screen memories combines the clarity of the memory and its apparent insignificance. However, the analysis of its contents reveals significant stages of childhood as well as some hidden fantasie.
Screen Memories, 2015, Gallery Sobering, Paris
In the chapter « Childhood and Concealing Memories » of his book Psychopathology of Everyday Life, Sigmund Freud is interested in childhood memories and highlights the fact that most of them « often seemed to preserve the unimportant and accidental, whereas [...] not a trace is found in the adult memory of the weighty and affective impressions of this period. »
Screen memories combines the clarity of the memory and its apparent insignificance. However, the analysis of its contents reveals significant stages of childhood as well as some hidden fantasies. As the figure of speech called amphibologie in literature, the screen memory has a double reading putting up a smokescreen.
Alexandra Hopf’s pieces develop a reflection about the viewer’s interpretation when he/she faces the object. The ambiguity of perception is an essential aspect of her work that oscillates from a duality to another, between original and copy, between line and color, between volume and flatness.
The terminology linked to the word « screen » is composed by the ideas of interface, frame, board, separation... Besides « screen » evokes a veil which has been placed to hide something and to prevent the communication between two elements.
Built as an explorative map, Board and Contract series abandoned the traditional canvas and frame for the use of an ambiguous material, implicitly suggesting the idea of copying.
After her work on the color, the artist draws lines that reveal the hidden material. There is a confusion between the carbon paper, inherent symbol of reproduction and the original painting made by the artist. The lines are sometimes concentrated, mostly irregular, creating a movement in the work whose process reminds the negative in photography.
« Screen memory » suggests the idea of a memory rewriting based on a protective mechanism, as well as a psychological repression : it generates
a stratification of memory, covered by an apparent superficiality. A parallelism can be drawn between this process and the palimpsest, the manuscript where inscriptions have been erased in order to be written again. The works of Alexandra Hopf can be compared to an inverted palimpsest, specifically to the superimposition of different layers that can only be revealed by a meticulous exploration.
Kojève’s Diary series is an explicit reference to Alexandre Kojève, a Russian-born French philosopher who renewed the study of Hegel in France and who was particularly interested in the "End of History" theory. The diary symbolizes the privacy, like the lines in the Contracts series. The artist does not deal with the universal History but with a subjective history based on plural personal stories.
Both series The Stella Files and Combined Piece (Piece of Stella) are references to Frank Stella, American artist and precursor of Minimal Art. His works, influenced by Bauhaus, analyse the status of the image, being not a representation but an object.
The surfaces in Alexandra Hopf’s compositions are in line with Minimal Art and Constructivism. Only the reliefs of tissue and the drawn lines are added to the color. In her work one can find an unintentional dimension : the artist opposes the chance to the intention.
Through an aesthetics of concealment in her solo exhibition Screen Memories, Alexandra Hopf questions what can not be directly seen and, therefore, reveals it.
* FREUD, Sigmund, Psychopathology of Everyday Life (German: Zur Psychopathologie des Alltagslebens), 1901