For us moderns, our languages are like our cities. We cannot escape them. They besiege us, lie to us, pledge us promises. They alienate us, transform themselves, transform us. They are faster than we are, dumber, stronger. They give our lives, words and dreams meaning, hope and strength – and steal them away the very next moment.
Nevertheless, our cities and languages are made by us. Without us they would not exist. We give them meaning, use them, live with them, live in them. We make them comply. We shape them as we see fit. We tear them down, we build them up.
In Paul Hutchinson's work, we encounter his city and his language, at times cautiously, at times brutally, never indifferent. In his texts and photographs alike, sensation exists through the tender and the rough cohabiting. It is these contradictions, and the subtle observations imbued with strong judgements that Hutchinson permits and which he, amidst all their intricacies, puts down on paper with remarkable clarity, both pictorially and linguistically. Knowingly opposing highbrow rhetoric, his works are political statements by an artist who lives and grew up in a city that has undergone fundamental changes. Even if those happened rather gradually than abruptly, one can’t help to feel more uneasy than optimistic thinking of how things will look here in twenty years’ time: those large drops falling onto the street collapsing, 2021.
In Maschinen, his solo exhibition at the Kunstverein Ulm, Hutchinson brings together works that speak of something that is unequivocally happening right now. It moves through facades, trainers and underground stations alike, appearing as graffiti, new building projects or cigarette butts. It doesn't stop anywhere, inscribing itself on every square centimetre of living space. Human bodies are strangely absent from the scene. We encounter them as a group of youths looking away; we catch a glimpse of Aria outside the corner shop; or we see workers, hardly recognisable at first glance, operating the machines.
What remains is a reflection on these machines, machineries and machinations, on the possibility of one's own voice, the growing inequality and future generations. Hutchinson doesn't offer any seductive answers. Rather, he reveals his questioning, his fears and his hopes. What he still believes in, what he no longer believes in; what he wants to defend. He shares his world, tries to make himself understood, in his language in his city.
– Shahin Zarinbal