Galerie Hubert Winter

Michael Höpfner
after five and a half days the trail peters out
9. November – 22. December 2012
Jeden Tag machten sich die freien Menschen beim ersten Morgengrauen auf den Weg zurück zu ihrer Wiege, dem Süden entgegen, dorthin, wo niemand anders leben konnte.
Jeden Tag verwischten sie mit denselben Bewegungen die Spuren ihrer Feuer, verscharrten sie ihre Exkremente. Der Wüste zugewandt, sprachen sie ihr stilles Gebet. Wie in einem Traum gingen sie fort, verschwanden.
Die letzten Zeilen. In: J.M.G. Le Clézio, Wüste (1980). Dt. v. U. Wittmann. Köln, Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 1989.

after five and a half days the trail peters out is Michael Höpfner’s fourth solo show at Galerie Hubert Winter. In the project of the same title, the artist examines the newly built roads and paths that lead from outposts in China’s western provinces into the barren hinterland, petering out in locations that are usually nameless and vaguely defined.

When the Geographical Journal published its most up-to-date map of Tibet in 1906, large parts of the chart bore the label “Unexplored.”
In quest of these untouched landscapes and of human existence on the margins of civilization—an existence characterized by the concurrence of religious rituals, utopian visions, and rapid disintegration—the artist has travelled the steppes and deserts of western China, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe on foot since 1995.

after five and a half days the trail peters out includes fully elaborated self-contained series of black-and-white photographs, collections of contact sheets from Höpfner’s travels, and skeleton-like metal architectures. They all attest to the experiences and observations of a walker, and add several new photographic aspects to the artist’s oeuvre.