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In mid-March, the contemporary art world heads to Hong Kong to experience Art Basel’s third international fair. Today is the last day of Art Basel Hong Kong and Whitewaller, your insider resource for all things ABHK, gives an up-close look at one of the exhibitions on view.
Gregor Hildebrandt‘s exhibition “Coming by Hazard” opened at Galerie Perrotin, Hong Kong last wee. In the show, Gregor takes us into his personal life, his house, and pays homage to his mentor, the set designer Thomas Gruber. The doormat from his home greets us at the threshold of the gallery space. A book jacket, a handbag, his girlfriend’s dress, and a sentimental photograph, all are inspirations for his latest body of work. For his mentor, he has created a mirrored work and wrapped the gallery walls with VHS tape from a theatric production of Marivaux‘s 1703 comedy Le Jeu de L’amour et du Hasard (The Game of Love and Chance).
Whitewaller had the opportunity to visit Gregor in his studio just a couple of weeks before the opening to view the works for the exhibition and to find out more about the upcoming show.
WHITEWALLER: Who or what inspired this exhibition?
GREGOR HILDEBRANDT: There were different steps. First, there was a situation where I commented that a friend came by hazard, instead of by accident. She came by hazard. It was a very poetic. A great title for a show.
My great teacher and mentor, Thomas Gruber gave me a gift that hangs on my kitchen wall, a picture with the words “Le Jeu de L’amour et du Hasard.” He had written over the “Z” to change the letter to an “S.” I was looking at this all the time while thinking and then the idea came to me to use this work for the show.
Lastly, there is my red doormat from my apartment in Berlin with Chinese characters that translate to “Come inside, go outside, in peace.” The mat is coming by hazard as a welcome from my home in Berlin for this show in Asia. And, it is nice to have this red mat to welcome visitors to my show, into my home, with my music, my art.
WW: What can we expect to see in this exhibition?
GH: First, the red doormat at the threshold of the gallery as if entering a private home. Then the centerpiece of the show whose design was inspired by a beautiful jacket cover of a book by Martin Luther whose title translates from German to “pushing you until it cracks,” which is powerful if not a bit sinister. There will be one sculpture work made from shaped vinyl records. A large triptych tape collage work and smaller single tape collage works. The mirror work Le Jeu de L’amour et du Hasard in which I, the student, am reflected in the work of the teacher. One more time is a tape deck work with an image of me in the arms of my girlfriend, Alicja Kwade. Then, I have some very new works for me. For one, I wound the cassette tape into vinyl records and cut these into squares and triangles to create an abstract work. With the second vinyl record cassette work, I created a very large round painting, which brings the show full circle as the magnetic tape for recording sound was developed in this way.
WW: Why did you choose to cover the gallery walls with VHS tape?
GH: I like, very much, to give the whole oeuvre, a feeling. It is different to the white walls and gives the works a different context. It is special.
WW: And why did you choose this particular VHS tape?
GH: Because it’s written on the invitation card [laughs]. No, Thomas Gruber created a set for a performance of this renowned theatre piece, which is also why the word is written on the work I have in my home.
WW: Will you tell us about the music you used in the works?
GH: A Gregorian chorus of monks singing texts from the Bible, because it is my namesake, and Martin Luther was famous for translating the Bible to German. He was a very important protestant figure. Another piece is using Stephan Eicher’s Dejeuner en Paix.
WW: What do you want people to take away from the exhibition?
GH: I want people to be confronted by my art and reflect on the work. I wish for them to start a thought process about the works. I only give them an offer of how to interpret the works. People feel different things with the different pieces. I only give them an idea of how to see the works. Everybody is welcome, welcome to feel at home but only in their mind. They can’t touch anything [laughs].
WW: Is there a question you haven’t been asked that you would like to be asked?
GH: [Laughs.] Will it be printed?