What a powerful prefix from two little letters: “un” is the start of Andy Hope 1930’s new series, summing up its ethos, commenting on its creative process and drawing forth all sorts of preconceptions in the viewer before things have even started. UNappropriated Activities, currently on show at Hauser and Wirth Zürich, takes the now standard starting point for much contemporary art — the act of appropriation — and twists it around with the addition of a syllable. Suddenly negative connotations spring to mind (undead, unpleasant, unemployment), and it is under this influence that the German artist presents his works calling on self-portraiture, cosmic phenomena and superhero symbolism.
Taking inspiration from Erich Origen and Gan Golan’s The Adventures of Unemployed Man — a 2010 comic book tale with a thoroughly modern hero — Andy Hope 1930’s characters are akin to their jobless protagonist: not so interested in the overambitious battles of good versus evil, but instead concerning himself with the equally heroic battles fought just to survive in the spotlight after his commercial success fades. The cowed and cowled Master of Degree is similarly defiant, staring out from the darkness and clutching his parchment like a beacon that wards off the descending terrors of today’s job market. Mr 1930’s slacker-inspired stars run riot throughout a beautifully-presented installation at the Zürich gallery – apathy; exclusion; survival, replacing themes of justice; triumph and combat. Will our heroes live to fight another day? Closing date for this exhibition is 14 March.