Terrified, I noticed an enormous furry brown spider suspended over the foot of my bed, clinging to a thread that descended from a web right over the bolster. “ No, no, I cried, “I can´t possibly spend the night with a threat like that over my head, kill it, kill it” – though the idea of killing it myself, whether in a dream or awake, totally revolted me. At that moment I dreamed that I woke up, but actually my dream continued...
The Night, 2016, home, Berlin
The future exhibition prototype presents a fragment of a new body of work inspirited by Alberto Giacometti’s text The Dream, the Sphinx, and the Death of T.. Hopf illustrates the story of late. Written in 1946 and published in the journal Labyrinthe Giacometti reveals his obsessions and anxieties while visually building his topography of remembrance. Reading from left to right in the hallway Hopf abstracts the first page of his text where he writes of his spider dream, which continues as he wakes up. Hopf has modified the text through its repetition. The reader enters a dream loop to discover illusory cycles. Her text piece is followed by eight black and white photographs of Space Time Suits; a reinterpretation of the famous overall, TuTa designed by Thayaht an Italian Futurist. Hopf’s life size overalls are of the same pattern but have been treated with oil and gouache. His arms reach out while his head looks towards the next identical photograph of - be as it may himself.
The poster between the windows announces the fictive future exhibition The Night without any text. Absent is Giacometti’s sculpture with the same name The Night (1947) owned by Philip Johnson. The sculpture has been interpreted as a sketch for a future monument. It once sat upon a Mies van der Rohe coffee table in Johnson’s home, The Glass House. Hopf’s poster appearing as once been folded, illustrates the work’s ambience, its shadow, pedestal and a backdrop. The scholar Espen Stueland says “Giacometti wanted to see the human body from a point beyond art itself, to annul art for the advantage of a kind of realism as something more than a representation of reality.”
The open plan kitchen and studio is lit up in a red light. Above the door is the neon Sphinx, with arrows pointing in opposite directions above and below the letters reading ‘sphinx’. The Sphinx was the name of a nightclub / luxurious brothel in Montparnasse. Giacometti being present for its last night on October 6th 1946, finding it “a place more marvelous than any other.”
Hopf adds to the fantasy and mystery of Giacometti, acknowledging the power of creation by process of incompletion. Giacometti like the spider is trapped within his own web, with his condition influencing his sight. Relying on the unconscious to write a labyrinth like architecture; he attempts to give spatial meaning to all the events of his life and elements of his psyche. According to Giacometti, reality should be treated as a hieroglyph and be deciphered as such. Perhaps the riddle of the sphinx is the best device for understanding The Night.
Hopf continues to contest the identity of what is means to be an artist. How have curators, art historians, psychoanalysts, auction houses helped and continue to define a legend? Hopf juxtaposes fragments of Giacometti’s key works – a lost sculpture marking his new style and his dramatic existential text with the untold future in this body of work. Sequential symmetries are mirrored within. Eager to learn the course of time, Hopf redresses Thayath as a tribute to her own inevitable design. While shedding light in the same red and lettering known to Giacometti, Breton and the Surrealists in Paris, she leaves the sculpture and both the current and forthcoming exhibitions bearing the same name again in the dark.
Text: Annabelle v. Girsewald