Andy Hope 1930: Studio Visit

The Berlin-Based Artist Reveals His Favorite Comic Book Heroes

The superheroes, aliens and robot cowboy killers populating the studio of German artist Andy Hope 1930 are documented by photographer Axel Hoedt. Famed for a thrift store aesthetic that blends subjects drawn from the golden age of comic books in the 1930s (hence his pseudonym) with a Russian suprematist painting style, Andy Hope 1930 had his first encounter with comics as a child, when a friend of his mother gave him American serials like Superman and Batman. “I couldn't read them back then, but I was immediately attracted to the images, especially to the movements of the figures, the distorted perspectives and the speed they evoked,” he explains. The artist’s current show at Hauser & Wirth in London, Medley Tour London by Andy Hope 1930, sees Batman, Beavis and Butt-Head, and the Watchmen’s Rorschach rub shoulders with the likes of Paul Klee, Francis Picabia and Kazimir Malevich. Taken from his X-Medleys series, the works echo familiar refrains from his earlier output and show a close connection between early 20th century avant-garde artists and cartoon superheroes. “It’s a nice vision to put Russian constructivism and the figure of a superhero in a mixer and see what happens,” he says. Here the painter details his favorite superheroes and villains.

Batman
, later also known as the Dark Knight. I like the ambivalence of this character, his secret identity. He is both brooding and a champion of justice. My sign system is not based on the coordinates of good or evil or similar moralistic categories. I am looking for other traces and adventures. The caped crusader in X-Medleys is no longer a figure. He has no characteristics, virtues, vices or life. It’s a pure sign.

Wonder Woman, a superheroine who represents for me the strongest superhero teams like Justice Society (from 1941) and Justice League (from 1960), with all its historical and political implications. Wonder Woman is also considered a feminist icon.

Mister Mxyzptlk, a malicious trickster. His godlike power can only be stopped by tricking him into saying or spelling his own name backwards. In mythology, the trickster figure frequently exhibits gender and form variability, changing gender roles. 

Doctor Strange, his mystic arts were a strong influence on me; the graphical inventions of [comic book artist] Steve Ditko gave this character his incredible dynamic.

Spider-Woman, because of her outfit and appearance. In a way she is the Marvel version of DC’s Wonder Woman.

Medley Tour London by Andy Hope 1930 is at Hauser & Wirth, Saville Row until May 26.

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