The Hope of Wrecks is a new multi-media exhibition at the Museum of St Albans & The Art and Design Gallery, The University of Hertfordshire. Curated by Andrew Marsh and Simon Hollington.

13 September – 27 October 2013.

hope ps 2

The Hope of Wrecks is a play on the title of the seminal Germanic romantic painting, The Wreck of Hope by Casper David Friedrich.

As the world is struggling to recover from a continuing global financial and ethical crisis it seems a fitting moment to explore how contemporary artists address the term ‘Hope’ both personally and politically.

The Hope of Wrecks explores how certain artists produce works which have an inherent optimism when seemingly either they, or the world that surrounds them, is at ‘rock bottom’. This optimism, whether it be overt or underlying, is expressed using strategies like humour, satire, honesty, naivety or faith.

The majority of our life experience may be futile, a tiny percentile of this experience, however, transcends inerta and despondency allowing us to feel optimistic and enthusiastic in spite of ourselves.

The show will exhibit a range of multi-media works by established, mid-career and young artists contextualising a modus operandi that has been at the core of artististic enquiry throughout history. In many of the selected artists’ work there is a ‘gallows humour’ that both mocks and confronts either themselves, their environment, or the viewer.

Taking place across both the Museum of St Albans and the Art and Design Gallery at the University of Hertfordshire.

‘Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man’

Friedrich Nietzsche

Featured Artist’s include:

Jo Addison

In Addison’s work, everyday things are interpreted with loose figuration and provisional materials. They are made over and over until things can be depicted by implication and reduction, rather than by detailed description, often reducing value and function to find the essence of an object or image.

‘Does Jo Addison’s work allude to objects or restage what essentially an object is – a thing? What kind of encounter is staged? What are we actually looking at, or wanting to hold or touch? We encounter them as objects by of way of their ‘thingliness’. What is this thing state? Are we on unfamiliar registers?’

– Notes on the object as thing, James Böhm, 2012


Chris Dobrowolski

Chris studied Fine Art in Hull and when he first got there he built a boat from driftwood to try to escape. The boat failed but Chris ended up making a whole series of vehicles in a similar vein. The way he makes things has a deliberate “knocked up in the garden shed” aesthetic and each vehicle and escape attempt has its own story attached. Over the years, Chris has retold and refined these stories as both artist and teacher. His recent work includes the performance lectureAntarctica based on his role as Visiting Artist at the British Antarctic Survey, Poland 3 Iran 2 with 30 Bird Productions about the 1976 World Cup and Vanishing Point a series of miniature film installations with Leslie Hill of Curious as part of Live Art Collective East. (Arts Adman)


Friedrich Kunath

Friedrich Kunath draws inspiration from sources such as lyrics, books and song titles along with art historical influences, including Conceptual Art, German Romanticism and Symbolism. With titles such as ‘Leaving is overrated’, ‘I may not always love you’ and ‘Bureau of Sad Endings’, his work strikes a balance somewhere between irony and desolation.




Kypros Kyprianou

Kypros is an artist and film maker. His recent wok investigates the definition of ‘subversive activity’, through performatively drawing portraits of police during demonstrations, of altering currency, or placing cardboard signage outside state institutions. As one half of Hollington & Kyprianou he makes ominous-humorous installations, performances and interventions that investigate how competing representations of science and politics shape the locus of the rational. His most recent collaborative project (with Roland Dennning, John Lundberg and Mark Pilkington) is ‘Mirage Men’, a feature length documentary that explores how U.S government agents targeted citizens in UFO-based disinformation campaigns to discredit them.


Adam Norton

Born 1964, lives in Sydney.

Norton’s work investigates the effects of technology on the human condition. He has made work about space travel, virtual warfare and nuclear weapons. He is not only interested in how technology has altered our physical landscape but also how those changes have impacted on human behavior. Norton’s work has been exhibited in Australia, The United Kingdom, The Netherlands and the United States. His work is in public and private collections in Australia and The United Kingdom.


David Shrigley

David Shrigley is an artist and illustrator best known for his mordantly humorous cartoons. Self-branded as an outsider in the art world, Shrigley is known for making flat compositions that take on the inconsequential, the bizarre, and the disquieting elements of everyday life. Like the musings of a very wise child displaying the wit and humor of a seasoned observer of the adult world, his illustrations feature crossed-out words, scribbled, uneven lines, and darkly funny aphorisms about the world. (via artspace.com)



Martin Kippenberger

Over the course of his 20-year career, Martin Kippenberger (1953–1997) cast himself alternately as hard-drinking carouser and confrontational art-world jester, thrusting these personae to the forefront of his prodigious creativity. He was also very much a player in the international art world of the 1970s right up until his death from liver cancer in 1997, commissioning work from artists such as Jeff Koons and Mike Kelley, and acting as unofficial ringleader to a generation of German artists, including Markus and Albert Oehlen, Georg Herold and Günter Förg. (via JandLbooks)

Ali Tareen

Born and raised in London, UK, Ali Tareen’s work plays with the dialogue between the individual and collective personalities of social infrastructures in society, confronting them with the social taboos that surround morals, faith and race. This is informed from memories and experiences of living in Prague and London.

Tareen is currently investigating and questioning the areas of Absurdity in common everyday life. He is interested in the existential relationships of the mundane and banal existence that humans subscribe to from out-dated template systems in order to control and conform a society.

Selina O

Selina O. studied Fine Art at Central Saint Martins.  Working mainly in Performance, Painting and Video.  She has shown work in L.A., Poland, Berlin and the U.K. under previous names.  More recently during the past year at the ICA, Romford Contemporary Arts and in East London under the LUPA E3 (Lock Up Performance Art) ‘extended family umbrella’ (curated by Kate Mahony, Rachel Dowle and Jordan Mckenzie).  She has also spent 10 years working as Yinka Shonibare’s painting assistant.

Selina lives, works and is from London.

Paul Thek

Paul Thek occupied a place between high art and low art, between the epic and the everyday. During his brief life (1933-1988), he went against the grain of art world trends, humanizing the institutional spaces of art with the force of his humor, spirituality, and character. Twenty years after Thek’s death from AIDS, we can now recognize his influence on contemporary artists ranging from Vito Acconci and Bruce Nauman to Matthew Barney, Mike Kelley, and Paul McCarthy, as well as Kai Althoff, Jonathan Meese, and Thomas Hirschhorn.

Harald Falckenberg and  Peter Weibel. MIT Press.

David Ersser

David Ersser was born in 1976 in Lincoln and studied Painting at Chelsea College of Art between 1999 and 2002.

After leaving college he stopped painting and started making still life sculpture, almost exclusively from Balsa wood, and usually of objects found around the studio and home.
In 2005 he co-curated and exhibited in ‘Larry Cocktails’ at Gagosian Gallery London, at the time a well received and exciting exhibition of young artists, which now is conveniently and critically ignored.
Until the recession in 2008, Ersser had solo exhibitions in London and New York which met with some critical and financial success, before the gallery in NY went bust and the one in London stopped liking his work.
He has since lowered his expectations of the art world and still lives and works in London.

Daniel Goodwin

Goodwin studied Fine Art at Hertfordshire College of Art and Design (1988-1990) and the University of Humberside (1990-1993). He now runs a successful gardening business in South East London. He continues to make art-usually in the form of sketchbooks that are often like a diary-the drawings contained becoming a set reflecting his interests and obsessions at the time of their creation.  They combine text and images, abstraction and figuration and are happy and sad and beautiful and ugly.


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