Much more than that
14 March - 6 June 2024

Language as a starting point and working material - this is precisely where our exhibition of works by Michael Endlicher and Kurt Hüpfner comes in. While Michael Endlicher has devoted himself entirely to language, whether presented in performance and video or captured in images, writing is a daily companion for Kurt Hüpfner, but has only found its way selectively into his works. Two writing artists and critics meet - they question and provoke.

Michael Endlicher experiments with words and letters in his works; the exhibition shows works from three groups of works: Critical Paintings, Drama Sheets and Letter Paintings. Endlicher questions how art is talked about - in his critical paintings he quotes art critics, theorists and reflections on art. He takes statements out of context, puts them on the canvas and turns words into images. The critically smug undertone in the selection of quotations is almost impossible to ignore, as they are always meaning-laden, almost incomprehensible formulations.

The language is based on a system of vocabulary and grammar - similarly, there is also a clear system in Endlicher's drama sheets: Each letter corresponds to a numerical value based on its position in the alphabet: A = 1, B = 2, C = 3 ... Z = 26. If you add up the individual letter values in words, you get a specific number for each word. Each sheet shows three words and the valid numerical value above them.

At the center of the exhibition is the artwork MUCH MORE THAN THAT - composed of 16 letter paintings. Each canvas of the series shows a letter, a number or a punctuation mark, which can be endlessly reassembled according to the set box principle. It is a maybe banal but, if you like, meaningful sentence that makes us even more aware of the empty phrases that surround us.

Growing up during the Second World War, Kurt Hüpfner was shaped by his experiences during the war and the post-war reconstruction. Throughout his life, he was afraid of the next crisis, followed political events closely and questioned the meaningfulness of life. This skepticism is also evident in the formulations in his works - which, strictly speaking, simply make no sense and follow no concept.

This places him in the tradition of the Dadaists of the early 20th century, who manifested the senselessness of the First World War with their ironic, anarchistic anti-art. They experimented with the generally accepted concept of art and declared everyday objects to be art objects. Senselessness, chance, improvisation and provocation were the main focus. The same applies to Kurt Hüpfner, his works are not planned but are created intuitively, there are no material limits - he uses what he has at home and the viewer often searches in vain for the meaning behind the work.

Text: Selin Stütz-Staudinger