Although Jonas Hoedicke studied with the painters Markus Lüpertz and Siegfried Anzinger at the Düsseldorf Art Academy, he doubtless received his most decisive impulses from a stint learning to be a stone mason in a small Düsseldorf company before beginning his study of art. It is impossible to overlook the fact that this stint set him up for the real and momentous decision to pursue his art.
In working with the sculpture of the 1920s, he began to orient himself on some seminal works. In particular, Oskar Schlemmer’s model figure and the idea of „man as a microcosm which reflects the macrocosm“ inspired him.
In order to explain himself in his own way and bring his art to an open mode of possibilities, Hoedicke also occupied himself with the work of Norbert Kricke, one of the main representatives of German post-war modernism. His spatial sculpture concepts, based as they are on the use of metal and the line as design tools, pointed Hoedicke’s way to expressive freedom. Whenever he has used sculptural elements in his painting, they have their origin in Kricke’s work.
Hoedicke balances intuition, serendipity and complexity with rhythm and the search for dynamism. With those, he touches his art-historical precursors; still, at all times, he is master of his own aesthetic field.
Before Hoedicke began painting in 2013 he had worked mainly making sculpture, using, as early as 2009, in the main aluminium wire. It is surprising that he used his talent to give form to sudden impulses. Thus arose, after one of his frequent three-month stays in Ireland, small-scale, dancerly coiled figures in rotational movements, the sex of whom is indeterminate, who have at times wider, at times narrower hips. They come singly and in pairs, fill object boxes, lie under a glass dome, link to form many reliefs, lying on pillows or floating, but always unique in their respective shapes.
Moreover Hoedicke created an absolutely casual bronze statue in an edition of six copies. What we see in these figures puts the young artist apart from his colleagues: it is his obstinacy, his absoluteness which tie him to his work, at almost any time of the day or night.
Hoedicke is quite a character. Currently he is unable to say exactly where he wants to go, but he is sure that he is ‚going on a journey. Where I’ll end up, I don’t know. I am free to choose my path, but I still have no idea where it might lead me. That is fun for me.‘ 1
It’s the joy of the unpredictable, or the coincidental – that’s what encourages him in his work. He openly admits liking the unforseeable. In his being active he can be drawn into the open; although he is intuitive, he is also determined. ‚Art originates for me while I’m at work.‘ 2
Jonas Hoedicke – Studies with Markus Lüpertz and Siegfried Anzinger at the Düsseldorf Art Academy
A series of photographic illustrations of his wire figures in space forms the link to his painting. They exude a pleasant softness and atmospherically a warm expressiveness. The figure is embedded in a background that looks inaccessible (or unapproachable). Perhaps this is like the fog of our own longings, perhaps one hides it even from oneself. The stringently designed motif evinces an existential forlornness. It marks the half-way point into the world of the stretcher, where Hoedicke begins, a short time later with the development of his painting program.
For about the last three years, this program has been marked by three categories: views of the Berlin cityscape, free character images and a synthesis of both orientations.
Hoedicke’s studio-apartment is located quite close to Potsdamer Platz in one of the few remaining old commercial buildings. On account of this, the architectural face of Berlin has emerged relatively pure in his pictures. Hoedicke, incidentally, has the gift of turning situations in a formal twist. Amid an apparently viewed scene he then rips open something slightly disconcerting. The result: images that originate along the lines of cityscape painting. Such vedutes originated long ago, but Hoedicke understands how to create the visualization of event forms from urban snapshots, snapshots which are quite fleeting and which connect him to the so-called Wilden (’sava-ges‘ – a Berlin group of painters, translation from ‚fauves‘) around Moritzplatz of the 1980s, much like the ‚Heftige‘ from East Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg district and extending to Ludwig Meidner’s vibrating work ‚Ich und die Stadt‘ (I and the City‘) from 1913.
Hoedicke’s cityscapes appear quite stable and are sometimes painted from a distant ‚arms-length‘ angle, and are therefore a convincing statement of a feeling of isolation, a traditional trope of city dwellers.
The viewers of Hoedicke’s wire figures meet them for a second time in his free character images and in acute form in his synthetic images. Now they are technoid personnel, and the artist is perfectly clear about this, because it becomes visible that he uses such figures as part of a new materiality and thus as an altered form of knowledge. From painting to painting, Hoedicke tries out alternative constellations. He looks for sources of visual stimuli, varies the perspectives, intensifies psychological moments and shows the essence of the city in a positive sense as globalized and computerized friction surface, in the negative as a backdrop of chaos, destruction and hopelessness. (Hinterhof, 2015, page 15). The city can be both a place of longing and of hopelessness. Hoedicke formalizes city events, but he does not abandon himself to them. He allows his forms to correspond to experiences and events (even with the autonomous existence of painting), and in this he is strikingly successful.
The artist is curious and modern, especially in his unexpected twists of narrative fictions, in which he compresses scenes of painting to a parable. Hoedicke’s paintings are most daring in works in which he transforms structural density into the symbolic. (Flüchtlinge, 2015, page 11). He questions existential decisions against a background of postmodernism (Good morning NSA, 2015, page 13). The way Hoedicke represents digital experiences through painting, the way he treats diverse styles, for example as in his multi-level analysis (Atelier, 2015, page 43), this opens an outlook on the future. Other works look as if the artist has organized his pictorial building blocks in order to afford a critical look at his own procedures. Their origin, which has been drawn from a concrete figurative place, do not deny this, but they act as space stations, open to a future which can be directed from the future. Every other picture becomes fuel for new painterly attempts and to an advanced stage for his Space Heroes.
1+2 Jonas Hoedicke in conversation with the author in the artist’s studio – Berlin, 01.06.2016