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Searching for Future Bodies to Coexist in the World

ARTIST INSIDE 2022 | Benedikt Hipp

Searching for Future Bodies to Coexist in the World

The body is a recurring motif in Benedikt Hipp’s work.
The artist, using the German stage as his private space, focuses on proving existence through the body.
In Germany, there is a culture of making wax offerings shaped as body parts, and the artist’s family has been making these ex-votos for generations.
Growing up playing with models of the body as toys, the artist says he naturally questioned what makes a body a body, and where does it begin and end?
The artist wants to see the world in a new way through the body, specifically the eyes, hands, and ears.

What is your perspective on the body?

The body was once something to be hidden, sometimes over-emphasized, sometimes considered like a mechanical part. Different times have had different perceptions of the body. Nowadays, the body is political, it’s a unit of society or a means of expression. When we are faced with global problems and we have to completely rethink the way we do things, we want to look at it from the smallest unit of society, the body.

Benedikt Hipp, 베네딕트 힙, Captain Future, 2021-22

But why is the body in your work always a part or a distorted form rather than a whole?

The individual is seen as part of an organization called society. The body is also an organization. The parts of the body are seen as you would see an individual. It is not a mutilated or damaged body, nor a distorted form. And our bodies are not fixed. When you see the body in a state of flux, the boundaries of the whole and its parts are actually blurred. I’m looking for new ways of being, new forms.

Benedikt Hipp, 베네딕트 힙, ENS, 2020, Oil and varnish on wood, 35.5 × 26 cm

In your work, the eyes are particularly emphasized, do you have a specific meaning for each body part?

There’s no symbolism in my work, the body parts don’t convey a specific message. I’m interested in the behavior of each part and its impact, and I’m particularly interested in the eyes because they are an organ of information. In a time when the world didn’t change much in a lifetime, the ears might have been more important, but it’s different now. How we see things and how things see us is what interests me.

Benedikt Hipp, 베네딕트 힙, Neo Plast 2, 2019

The atmosphere is melancholic, even when looking at the body in the works as a new form of existence. Are you somewhat skeptical about human existence?

I’m a human being too, but yes, the way humans treat this world and everything that lives in it makes me sad. When I think about the future, it’s not very bright. I hope we can find a better way to coexist. I believe that art has a quiet power, so I try to practice it in my art.

What kind of work would you like to create in relation to that idea?

I’m interested in new perspectives on the body, new commentaries on humans, and coexistence with the environment. I want to find a future body that is free from distinctions such as gender and skin color. Of course, it’s a fictional body, but I want to start a dialogue through the images in my work.

Interview by Heaseung Kang, published on Kiaf 2022 Catalogue