Judith Hopf

Some Ends of Things (2011)

Judith Hopf’s absurdist work scrutinises public consensus and individual behaviour from unlikely angles. Her short video Zählen! (Count!, 2008), for example, refers to early 20th-century accounts of Clever Hans, a horse who seemed to excel at arithmetic. What was the trick? An inquiry later attributed the spectacle to what became known as the ‘Clever Hans Effect’,  whereby the performer gauges audience expectations rather than understanding the problem posed. Our actions, Hopf suggests, are often determined or completed by others. Her projects – which she sometimes develops with her students – are frequently collaborative. During the 1990s she organised an anarchic series of public events, which were called ‘Supersalons’, and has more recently created obstacle-like installations that impede viewers’ movements.

Hopf is fascinated by beginnings and endings – when can we say that something is no longer new and how do we know that something is already over? The artist’s recent work often returns to the idea of exhaustion. She frames this concept in Beckettian terms, considering the Janus-faced possibilities of speaking exhaustively and conversely, the point at which meaning itself is exhausted. Are you exhausted because of the endless possibilities or because the possibilities have already been exhausted? For Frieze Film she has developed this set of preoccupations into a project titled Some Ends of Things, which works towards what she terms a ‘deceleration of perception’ and ‘a radical support’ of desires and extravagances. The protagonists of this new work are a chicken, which bathes in the sun in its paradise, and an egg, a character that wanders the hallways of a modernist building. The discordant forms of the egg and the building cannot change, though they must coexist.

Frieze Film 2011 was curated by Sarah McCrory under the auspices of Frieze Projects.

Frieze Film is a programme of artist commissions screened to coincide with Frieze Art Fair, in 2011 it included five newly commissioned films.

In previous years collaborations between Frieze Film and Channel 4’s ‘3 Minute Wonder’ slot have averaged audiences in excess of one million viewers.