In the video Two of You at Once (2013), ‘Andy Hope’ speaks for the first time. While we hear him, the only thing we see is a hypnotizing image of a swirling ring. The looped ‘talking ring’ is taken from the film The Time Machine (George Pal, 1960). Through multiple time zones Andy Hope talks to us, explaining scientific concepts of space and time while expanding the mythology of Andy Hope 1930. As a result of a ‘time accident’, in the year 1930, he had landed on earth as the only survivor of a species that is exterior to any language —one that ‘has no name’. He says: ‘I started to love human beings, and my wish became, to become a human being.’ It is the desire to become human, articulated in a human voice, that first introduces the artist’s pendular code. Imagining a future or thinking the unthinkable is always based on our cognition, beholden to the limits of our consciousness and history. Yet the alien-prophet’s perspective is of a restrained distance to both the future and past – to history, myth and the status of the self.The paintings, sculptures, drawings and objects in Earth 1 belongs to Earth 2 are neither portals to parallel universes nor windows to a fictive reality. Instead they are manoeuvres in reality—like language itself. They are rooted in what ‘Andy Hope 1930’ calls ‘Trans Time’, a continuum beyond our conventions of space-time where up and down, forwards and backwards are merely relative—neither physical, nor philosophical facts.
The painting Clock with Parallel Clock-Hands (2013) shows the schematic framework of an alternative concept of time, a time that might be static or no ‘time’ at all: two white arrows point diagonally towards the center of a black circle – a black hole. They encircle its edges and point inwards toits center rather than out of one. Its suspended midpoint indicates the absent vanishing point characterizing the Suprematist rejection of pictorial representation and the physical event of an absolute gravity that absorbs all matter, reflecting nothing.
A second gravity point of the exhibition is the painting Sub-History Light (2013). It shows the silhouette of a female figure holding a lantern that carries the ‘sub-history light’. The lady silhouette is made of a deranged Black Square and a fragment of Mickey Mouse. The words echo Walter Benjamin’s famous (mis-) reading of Klee’s Angelus Novus: the winds of progress violently propel the ‘Angel of History’ backwards into the future.
When Kazimir Malevich died in Leningrad in 1935, his friends who buried his ashes did not carry out his stated wish to have his grave topped with an ‘Architekton’—one of his skyscraper-like maquettes of abstract forms, equipped with a telescope through which visitors were to gaze at Jupiter*. Two enlarged variations of Malevich’s maquettes can be seen in the show. Titled Razzle Dazzle,each of these is crowned with a plastic pink flamingo, an all-American pop icon and lawn ornament. We are led to both the original context of the ‘Architekton’ as a model for post-revolutionary society in Malevich’s cluttered Russian studio in the 1920s and to Brad McCullum, the son who stabs his mother to death in Werner Herzog’s film My Son My Son What Have Ye Done (2009). Herzog’s protagonist, who walks around the crime scene holding a coffee cup lettered with the words ‘Razzle Dazzle’, affectionately refers to his two pet flamingoes as ‘my eagles in drag’ – figures that could joyously dwell in Andy Hope’s work.
By Tal Sterngast
* Peter Schjeldahl, “The Prophet. Malevich’s Revolution,” The New Yorker, 2 June 2003.