January / February 2018

With the exhibition, Empty Bars From Above in Copenhagen, Okka-Esther Hungerbühler explores ethereal movement and static being in space. Through a series of acrylic and tempera paintings, drawings, and mixed media sculptures, the artist invites the viewer on a journey of self-discovery where themes of coexistence and loneliness are explored. While maintaining a strong sense of autonomy, Hungerbühler’s paintings follow the isolated subject floating in space, separated from the external world.

In a series of scenes from empty bars, the subject observes the space from above, simultaneously acting as security camera and excluded other. The dualistic scene of the bar as a place for togetherness and joy and on the other hand as hideaway for tragic occurrences frames the remaining exhibition. The vibrant colors of the paintings along with the insistent focus on architectural elements draw parallels to the female form possessing an intense yet unsettling energy. This energy manifests within Hungerbühler’s ambiguous sculptures. As they open up to us, their delicate appearance unfold as decorated disco balls of foil and glitter – her so-called “fountains” referencing Hieronymus Bosch’s eccentric figurations. The artist’s fountains are accompanied by tall, tree-like pieces; firs with anthropomorphic components – the artist’s self-portrait in foil, paper, and carton. The objects float much like the perspective of the artist’s oils as outcast cases soaring in the space between visibility and transparence. The sculptures’ almost supernatural looks, verging on the edge of childhood play and adult solemnity, detach them from the viewer’s reality, making fantasy the final imperative.

Okka-Esther Hungerbühler’s multi-medial expression illustrates existential crises as they occur, erasing the distance between current moment and future rendering.