During the time of the Berlin Wall and in the decade of patchwork development that followed, the neighborhood around Dessauer Straße 6-7 was largely neglected and desolate. These years that led up to the city’s architectural and social overhaul were central to the German artist K.H. Hödicke’s oeuvre, as he painted such scenes in his nearby studio, capturing the distinctive spirit of his surroundings. KÖNIG GALERIE is pleased to present three large-scale paintings by the Berlin-based artist, each an expressive landscape view of the bridges and construction along the Landwehr Canal which surrounded Hödicke’s former studio, the same building where the gallery was later located in 2006.
The richly colored canvases are full of movement, as car headlights, glittering reflections, and lampposts contour the deep outlines of architecture, and the diffused action and growth of the capital city radiate against a dark night sky. A pioneering figure in the neo-expressionism of the 1980s and important inspiration for the Neue Wilde, Hödicke continually explores the vast urban environment of Berlin: be it shop windows, iconic buildings, construction sites, or the contours of its inner courtyards. The artist expresses a passionate view of a city undergoing rapid evolutions, exercising his wonderful capacity to capture historical elements in conjunction with the prevailing mood of each decade in which the work was created.
These images are only suggestively figurative and tend to verge on abstraction; the spontaneous brush strokes resemble musical notation. In fact, each title conveys some musical element: paratatatam appears to denote a rhythm; Partitur II translates as musical score; and La Paloma is a popular Spanish song. A cultural spirit emanates from these obscured cityscapes, by way of Hödicke’s lively painted gesture.
Born in Nuremberg in 1938, K. H. Hödicke moved to Berlin at the age of nineteen to pursue his studies at the Hochschule der Künste (now the Universität der Künste), where he would later teach as a professor from 1974 until 2006. A co-founder, in 1964, of Großgörschen 35, a revolutionary cooperative gallery in West Berlin, Hödicke has continued to make a profound mark on the Berlin art scene. His prolific body of work includes paintings, sculptures, and films, and was recently the subject of a major retrospective at Berlinische Galerie.
Text: Kate Brown
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