September / October 2016

Gregor Hildebrandt’s works transport memory. The artist mounts audio and video tapes recorded with music and films onto canvas, fragments found images in his cassette racks, or alienates it through engraving granite. The work’s titles contain information about the context. The image itself, however, only appears before the inner eye of the beholder, who supplements it with his or her own memories and imbeds it into a narrative.

For the exhibition Jetzt wird’s hot im Staate Dänemark, the German edition of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet published by Reclam serves as a model and leitmotif. The artist engraves the image of the book cover, a portrait of an actor playing Hamlet, on granite and places it opposite the entrance of the narrow exhibition space. Hamlet directs his gaze to the cassette rack showing his beloved Ophelia. The work surrounds the monumental floor work in which the image is reflected like on the surface of a body of water. Hirnholzparkett is composed of cassette tapes wound around reels, cut into pieces and cast in epoxy resin, so that the visible surface consists of the narrow edges of countless audio tapes. The tapes of the two Rip-Offs bear a recording of the play Hamletmaschine by the German dramatist Heiner Müller, set to music by the band Einstürzende Neubauten. The works are always created in pairs: in a positive and a negative version. A part of the audio tapes’ coating sticks to a canvas partially covered with adhesive tape, and these tapes are then fixed on a second canvas, forming the exact counter or negative image.

The exhibition title Jetzt wird’s hot im Staate Dänemark (It’s getting hot in the state of Denmark) is an expression coined by the artist. He uses it when playing chess, at the moment when things get dicey for one of the players, and the game really starts to become interesting. The original is from Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet. “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” marks the real beginning of the tragic plot.