Tying in with DC Open, Sies + Höke is pleased to present Berlin-based artist Paul Hutchinson’s (*1987) first exhibition at the gallery.
The romance of the metropolis is a prevalent mood in Hutchinson's work. It is found under loose cobblestones, in the muddy fringes, within the dark hood. But the grey sky, Berlin's grey light is also romantic. A love-hate relationship with this light which signifies home. Understandably, his photographs are never really colourful. A shadow settles over everything and marks the city as his beloved Berlin. The only place where even butterflies flutter around with a comforting grey tinge.
The visual language of his photographs does not work towards spotlighting these places and cultural sites. Paul Hutchinson's works seem casual and subtle. The leitmotif is the decision-making process from the corner of the eye, arising from the subconscious of a sensitive act of moving past something or walking into it. This also explains the presence of graffiti in his works. He himself has no history as an active graffiti artist, yet he sees this genre as part of the familiar culture in which he grew up, aesthetically in the cityscape and in a social environment that enables friendly relations.
“wach mal auf junge wach mal auf” ("wake up boy wake up") comes from a monologue with a lyrical counter-inside-super ego, which could be an alter ego as Hutchinson's lyrical grandmother, or a father-spirit, shining from the tunnels of underground stations. We find a glimpse of his own youth in the work youth. A still life from the artist's present living room. We see a photo from his teenage days on the wall, almost as a kind of reliquary. Himself, in the front row wearing a dark T-shirt, surrounded by friends. They are posing with beer bottle and middle finger, copying poses of masculinity and hostile behaviour, yet at the same time seeming as vulnerable as a boy band, separated from the parental homes too early to go on tour. The flower in front of it, an Oxalis triangularis, also called a "false shamrock", looks wilted, again like something from a teenager's room.
The silkscreen prints are another series of works. His photos take on a black-and-white graininess here. They look like slightly fuzzy paper surfaces with a roughened substance that gives the photographic image a painterly softness. While the subject is recognisable at the right distance, the grey depth becomes a blotchy composition in the mist from close up, which poses mystical pictorial riddles to the eye. Across it, his handwriting, in yellow.