Blind Faith, Julienne Lorz, 2018 (english)

The body is a recurring topic in Benedikt Hipp’s art. In his paintings and three-dimensional works, it appears in various ways: as a recognizable figure; in parts and fragmented, represented by organs or serving as a vessel; or as an abstract entity. Invariably, Hipp’s bodily forms are part of a greater whole, a system, or are within a larger spatial context. Body and space thereby affect each other; one infringes on the right to exist and the form of the other, often in an oscillation between figuration and abstraction. Hipp’s idiosyncratic visual language is further broadened through his use of titles, often hinting at the artist’s complex conceptual and philosophical engagement with the world of today, but also the past. Belief, ritual, life and death, as well as the power of iconography and the object in and of itself all flow into his works, where new interrelations create a charged atmosphere.[1] For example, in the ink and collage work on paper, Noologische Dimension, whereby “noology” is “the study of mind,”[2] or in the sculptural installation I couldn’t believe my own eyes, nor my ears, the eponymous title for his solo show at the Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, Ludwigshafen, in 2015. The latter evokes doubts about seeing and hearing something that one had never experienced before or did not know of and, therefore, causes one to question one’s own sensory abilities. Hipp does not define whether his probing of the real is meant in a religious sense or not.

His series entitled Neonatal Refractions (2016-2018) also brings “the new” to the fore: a newly born bending of light. Light and how it refracts on painted surfaces can be experienced quite literally in some of his newest, larger scale paintings within the series, where a notably brighter, even psychedelic color palette is at times combined with iridescent backgrounds that change according to the angle of the light. Organic shapes and multiple, multi-colored folds suggest human forms: a body augmented with simple, black-and-white illustrations of human palms, or a head that has an unnervingly beady eye peering out of dynamic abstract brushstrokes. Once again, it is the body, although abstracted and nonetheless archaic, that affords an investigation into what the human condition is at a time when it is sometimes hard to believe one’s eyes or ears.


[1] It is interesting to note that for generations Hipp’s family made wax votives of body parts or organs, for instance, that people would bring to church as an offering in the hope of being healed of a certain illness.