Structures hovering in space

Galerie Oberem is showing works by Enrik Hüpeden

The human eye is constantly hunting for messages, signals and meaning. Where this is not possible, for example in concrete or abstract art, it eagerly attempts to identify in the unknown something familiar, or at least to localize plausible, connected spaces. With exactly this individual initiative, Enrik Hüpeden’s pictures, which can be seen in the Galerie Oberem in Bremen light a spark in the human optics.
Although Hüpeden’s works are sober, concrete phenomena, strictly abstract adaptations, yet they are highly spiritual, impassioned, and cosmic. The artist works with the simplest of media: adhesive tape on paper, a spray gun and only a few striking colour tones, which often emanate out of a deep black. At first the adhesive tapes are increased during the course of the work, in order to obtain varying shades of colour, towards the end of the composition they are progressively removed. This method demands considerable manual skill and anticipatory intelligence on the part of the artist. The results are freely hovering structures, whose inherent vibrating spatiality remains unclear. The coloured stripes which they consist of, appear to be traces of light on photographic paper; they literally mean nothing and are self-sufficient. Sometimes they are layers, then concentric knots, twists and angle-shapes between coincidence and control.
But Hüpeden also creates spaces from beams and pieces of scenery which are built with a central perspective, and sometimes spirally twisted. They make us think of the forerunners of Op Art, of Naum Gabo, Fruhtrunk or Buren. But these avant-garde and at the same time galactic structures are never epigonic. Hüpeden’s precision is constructive, but never sterile, he also tolerates rough edges and seemingly imprecise connections. In her 6th exhibition Barbara Oberem shows once again a convincing, balanced series of aesthetic explorations.
Rainer B. Schossig, Weser-Kurier, Bremen, 29.03.2013



The viewers become part of the structure of the picture

Dynamic spatial concepts: The artist Enrik Hüpeden with a show in the Rottloff Gallery in Karlsruhe

Enrik Hüpeden’s painting moves between a minimalist and an ornamental-baroque form language – a stylistic contrast, which couldn’t be greater. And yet the artist manages to combine the straightforward, geometric structure of minimalism with the dynamic opulence, which we know from the baroque. In the Rottloff Gallery in Karlsruhe the artist has conceived an exhibition under the title “Raum 5”, which he says shows “an exhibition within an exhibition”, enabling the viewer to experience a dialogue between statics and dynamics. The artist presents a series of gloss paintings whose subject is formed of ovals, painted in various muted colours and placed one in front of the other. Hüpeden has positioned these paintings on canvas opposite a wall-painting extending over three rooms, where the architectural alignment of the painting does not permit the gloss paint images to be seen at the same time.
On the contrary: through the wall paintings the viewer’s gaze is directed from the exhibits to the architecture of the gallery, with his painting Hüpeden has defined it too, as a work of art. Three consecutive walls have each been painted with a specific structure inspired by Op-Art, which covers part of each room, rather like wallpaper. Through the door-frames which appear in each wall-painting the series of rooms and also the alignment of the rooms themselves can be seen, thus merging the individual composition of each wall-painting into an assemblage in the viewer’s gaze. The arrangement of the geometric-abstract elements allows the viewer to dive into the structure of the picture. The momentum of the image is transferred to the room itself, where it unfolds and thereby links the viewer’s perception to the graphic quality of the room.
Enrik Hüpeden (b. 1966 in Hamburg) studied painting at the Karlsruhe Akademie der Bildenden Künst from 1989 to 1994 and finished his studies in 1995 as a master student of Erwin Gross, followed by further studies at the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie under the concept artist Jan Dibbets. Embedding his painting into an existing spatial context, as he has done in this exhibition, is characteristic of Hüpeden’s work. In particular it is the details which transmit the specific aspects of the spatial situation which provide the impulse for his painting and integrate them as dynamic elements into existing situations.
Christina Irrgang, Badische Neueste Nachrichten, 25.1.2010



The gaze doesn’t come to rest

If there is an exhibition space in Cologne where in principle every exhibition is a surprise, then it is the Kunstwerk. The walls of the large exhibition hall were painted black for the presentation of Enrik Hüpeden’s painting. Combined with the old black tiled floor which still shows traces of its previous use as a factory hall, it is already an optical event in itself. Hüpeden places his large-format pictures in this almost-sacred building as points of reference and holders of secrets. What appears to be geometric art on a building, on the large wall at the entrance, turns into a focal point on the canvasses, causing our eyes to rotate. Triangles, trapezoids and other shapes combine with circles and create a picture which can be viewed both as a surface structure and as spatial simulation. At first glance our sense of perception which is searching for recognizable forms, loses itself in insecurity. After the Op-Art of the 1960s with its geometric forms established the delight of playing with geometry, the viewer reminisces first in the pull of seemingly ornamental magic. However, in contrast to the regularity of Op-Art and the ornamental, Hüpeden has turned irregularity into a fundamental principle. And this is just what gives the viewer no respite. Just like psychological cognitive tests, the eye searches for clear shapes in the abstract displacement of surfaces. Again and again, just for a moment, it finds a shape and a meaning, but cannot keep hold of it for long. It is too short, to become a memory or an explanation. That Hüpeden’s pictures hint at technical objects, is only one vague reminiscence among others. Basically we don’t know anything, when we look at these pictures. And it is just this state of uncertainty which is the special appeal of Hüpeden’s painting, in particular because they are composed very precisely and carefully.
Jürgen Kisters , Kölner Stadtanzeiger, 19.3.2009