Andy Hope 1930: When Dinosaurs Become Modernists
Investing trash aesthetic of golden age comic book iconography with a subverted mythology
Scary monsters and super-creeps abound in the Berlin-based artist formerly known as Andreas Hofer’s first UK museum exhibition, which features five new works among an epic 41 on show. Seen side by side, there are moments when they resemble an outsize pulp fiction collage of pop culture ephemera swirling around Hofer’s brain, overlapping each other as they burst through the frame. Even the fact that Andy Hope 1930 has a secret identity speaks volumes about where he’s coming from.
Because, drawing a line between Roy Lichtenstein and Daniel Johnston, Andy Hope 1930 takes the trash aesthetic of golden age comic book iconography and invests it with a subverted mythology born of the more questioning, me-generation years. So, against a Zabriskie Point-style landscape in ‘Impressions d’Amerique’, Batman and Robin are dressed as the Lone Ranger and Tonto, making the umbilical link between existentialist outlaw (super)heroes of old and new America as he goes.
The nod to French proto-surrealist Raymond Roussel, who so influenced a generation of New York poets, is as knowing as the wonkified charity-shop Kurt Schwitters homage, the portrait of John Baldessari as Marvel Comics super-villain Galactus, which comes complete with extra added Jesus, and the strip cartoon take of Linda Lee as Supergirl. Because, among the desolate landscapes that recall the early work of Wim Wenders, another German fascinated with the Wild West reinvented as post-war counter-culture, Andy Hope 1930 needs heroes to call his own.
Of course, there are dinosaurs, be they larger than life and hidden behind wallpapered candy-stripes, or pocket-sized and contained, as they are in ‘The Education Dinosaur Movie Hall’. This earth’s core installation is a cardboard box peepshow into a Ray Harryhausen-style parallel universe where dinosaurs watch science fiction B-movies at the local drive-in. As evolution goes, it’s a spaced oddity, for sure.
Inverleith House, Edinburgh, until Sun 13 Jan