250 x 200 x 120 cm
Stainless steel and paint
James Hopkins Studio presents the launch of 123, a major new sculpture commission unveiled at Florentinum, Prague, Czech Republic.
The majority of Hopkins’ practice is concerned with the role of judgment in connection to the process of vision. He optically adapts the familiar in order to create sculptural interventions, which momentarily knock the viewer’s perception off-kilter.
His most recent sculpture ‘123’, is based on ascending and descending numbers, which play on the notion of fixing illusions through the isolation of the observer’s viewpoint. The numerals have been stretched, sculpted and carved in opposing directions, switching meaning when looked at from different angles. This permanent free-standing sculpture is a continuation of his interest in the ambiguity of the image and other scenarios which deceive the eye. The inherent visual trickery of ‘123’ confirms the visual puzzle and optical conundrum as Hopkins primary field of operation.
‘I consider perspective and the rendering of space in art to be the crux of artistic techniques and think that the most important link in the armoury of illusionistic art is the trick of perspective. I am most interested in how certain sculptures are capable of simultaneously representing several different visual interpretations. I find it most intriguing how our visual perception of such sculptures can switch between two or more alternatives and what the subsequent effect of perceiving a changing space of representation has upon our senses. When looking at my sculptures the viewer is made aware that each viewpoint holds something entirely different from the next. This confirms that no one viewpoint when looking at sculpture can be any more reliable than the next’.
‘Hopkins's sophisticated visual illusions are engaging, but his best works also hint at the epistemological uprooting that follows from the discovery that sight, our most relied-upon sense in the gallery, can be untrustworthy. Few contemporary artworks consciously remind us of this fact; Hopkins links it to an examination of his objects' intrinsic characteristics, and, occasionally, to a meditation on the emotional fallout of this and other fundamental instabilities’.
Brian Sholis, Artforum
‘His highly focused practice has consistently addressed the perceptual aspects of the relationship between artwork and viewer. Producing objects, installations and public works that in their level of fabrication approximate processes of high-end mass production, Hopkins fuses the surface logic of the commodity with that of a fairground mise-en-scene. Arrangements of elements are carefully constructed to create slippages in perception, wherein the viewer’s confidence in what is seen shifts as their physical location in relation to the work changes. This “trickery” is employed in a manner that reflects on philosophical and psychological traditions related to the connectivity between vision, language and thought’.
Richard Birkett, Artists Space, New York
‘These variations on an anamorphic theme interpellate the viewer, and perhaps generate the same wonder and perplexity that the artist describes on first encountering the potter’s wheel. Shapes continually change, bounding and defining a central point in what Hopkins calls an ‘elastic band reality’.
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