Questions of the Body in reference to space, society and identity are more than ever extremely timely topics. While the body was long deemed a “prison of the soul” from which one was to free oneself, our present is shaped by physical, technological and virtual “body optimization”. In addition our digital approach to communication has changed distinctively the parameters of our social interactions.
Kathrin Sonntag, Benedikt Hipp
Benedikt Hipp and Kathrin Sonntag construct new perspectives on “corporeality” and the interaction with both, internal and external conditions. While Benedikt Hipp’s paintings generally set historical and contemporary “body images” in relation to each other, Kathrin Sonntag’s new series of photographs, “Körperteile” (“Body Parts”) stages precisely the shifts and irritations occurring in between.
In her photographs and installations, Kathrin Sonntag constructs situations that alter and expand our way of seeing things. Her new series “Körperteile“ (“Body Parts”) depicts objects that are either adaptations of human body parts, resemble them or are reminiscent of them. Her focus is on a “transfer of meaning.” The photographic staging suddenly charges inanimate things such as a necktie, a hammer or sculptural objects of study with features of a living body. The categories of object and body merge, things turn into picture puzzles that can be read in different ways, they are “two things at once” or, as Kathrin Sonntag puts it, “the pictures actually rub off on each other or they can also infect each other”.
In Benedikt Hipp’s paintings, objects and installations the body is a key motif and an object in which ethical, political and social conceptions resonate. He understands the body as a system fragmented into individual parts that can always appear in new forms and be influenced by external conditions. In this sense, the systems of body and society interact. His work calls into question concepts and views of individuality and identity that in the age of self-design appear as controllable and interchangeable parameters. As Benedikt Hipp puts it, „..it is time to ask the body new questions and ask society new questions raised by the body…“.
Kathrin Sonntag, born 1981 lives in Berlin. Her works are included in the collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and the Pinakothek der Moderne Munich. Kunstmuseum Solothurn in Switzerland will dedicate Kathrin Sonntag a solo exhibition in 2021. Previous solo exhibitions were at KINDL – Centre for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2018/19) and Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen (2016). Other photo projects have been shown at the Aspen Art Museum (2013), Schaustelle der Pinakothek der Moderne Munich (2013), Kunstverein Hamburg (2011), the Swiss Institute New York (2009), amongst others.
Benedikt Hipp born 1977 lives in Munich and Rome. For 2020/21 he has been honored with the Villa Massimo Award Rome, one of Germany‘s most renowned Art Prizes for contemporary artists. His works are included in the collections of Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Departmental Domain Chamarande or Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen. Previous institutional solo exhibitions were at Wilhelm-Hack-Museum Ludwigshafen (2015), Kunstverein Bielefeld (2014), Kunstpalais Erlangen (2011) as well as much regarded group exhibitions at Memmo Foundation, Rome (2021), Haus der Kunst Munich (2018), Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt (2015), Musée d’Art Contemporain Bordeaux (2011) or Kunstverein Hannover (2010).
But to man’s experience a body has been given, a body which is his body – a fragment of ambiguous space, whose peculiar and irreducible spatiality is nevertheless articulated upon the space of things.