PEOPLEText: Mariko Takei

Boris Hoppek “Ever”.

Boris Hoppek is a German artist who currently lives and works in Barcelona. Many of you might have seen one of his trademark works known as Bimbo dolls, which appeared on various international stages. From April 21st, DIESEL DENIM GALLERY AOYAMA will present his solo exhibition “Ever” for the first time in Japan, showcasing 3 series of works with a theme aiming at Western clichés concerning Japanese culture in a quirky and unique way.

Boris Hoppek
Photo: Barbara Oizmud

Please introduce yourself.

Boris Hoppekthe son of Horst and Heidi Hoppek. Born 1970 in Kreuztal, a little village in Germany where he mostly never visited school. As a Hippy-community Baby he tried his first weed and was in parties, festivals and concerts before he could walk. Later, as a 2nd Generation Hippie, he was living in the forest, hunting animals and building things. Then when he turned 11yrs old he shocked his hippie-family by getting his first computer, a Commodore VC20, when most people didn`t know what a Computer was.

Sometime between this and that he found a Bukowski book in the bookshelf of his grandparents. After school Boris trained as a Technical Tracer in a factory, mostly reading books and drawing on the toilet. Meanwhile he started 1990 with Graffiti and in 1994 with Girls. Aha!! And more than 10 years later he was too stupid to correctly follow the registration-orders of the Military. It took several years to recover from school and find what he is best at. Now he mostly refuses to communicate.


It’s been 20 years since you have worked on graffiti art. How and where did you start it?

I started in my hometown Siegen in Germany. Maybe my first street art was when I was 6 years old and pasted newspaper all over a wet mercedes benz. After it dried it was pretty good fixed and the owner pretty good angry. Too bad I didn’t take any photos.

Before graffiti I was doing photography for many years. Also film, drawing and building things. But when I discovered graffiti it was just so very easy. No machines, people, time or expenses involved like for example doing a film or a magazine. And of course no bureaucracy or handling of artworks. Just a pen, spray-can or chalk. So I postponed the big projects for later when I got older. Graffiti was like studying, but in real life and real time. The studio and the gallery is the wall in the street and the pedestrian is the unintended art critic…


Recently you have been pursuing your creativity in a wide variety of fields such as installation, drawing, photography, and magazines. How did you find yourself expanding into fields of activities apart from graffiti art?

It’s normal that you want to do something else after a while. It’s just the natural step of an artist to do sculptures after you get tired of painting. But it took me some time to find the right material, I didn’t like wood, metal or stone. I started with stuffed sculpture made with fabrics. I was taking the materials from the street, hunting sofas and stripping them down to the bones.


Your solo exhibition “Ever” will be held at DIESEL DENIM GALLERY AOYAMA starting on April 21. Could you tell us about the exhibition’s concept? And with the concept, what are you going to explore for 3 sections in the exhibition? Could you introduce each section?

Well, I never really have a concept. I will show photos, drawings and installations. I will do 3 installations.

The main installation of the show won’t be a photo of a big vagina, blown up to 1.6 meter, hanging from the ceiling under a beautiful colorful skirt. It will be something else, because of the protective censorship of the Japanese government… because of the Law. That’s good so I had to think of something new for this exhibition. I hope the highlight will be an installation of two people made out of mud, lying in a bed and holding hands for Ever. Well, if it turns out to look like shit there will be other great and wonderful installations, photos and drawings.


How did you think about the Japanese obsessiveness with kinky sex? Did you find any differences/interests particularly? Also, what do you think about Japan?

I can answer this question better after my visit to Japan. It will be the first time. It’s interesting to find out if the kinky sex fetish is because of the strict censorship or if it is necessary to have the censorship because of the kinky sex?

What most influenced your work at the Ever exhibition?

The kinky sex fetishes and sushi.


You have produced a sex-magazine made with artistic perspective called La Vagina. Could you introduce the magazine briefly? For the 3rd edition, which will be released for the Ever exhibition, did you have any specific idea?

3 years ago I made my first exhibition including some photography at Heliumcowboy Artspace in Hamburg. My gallerist asked me to do an exhibition catalogue, but just a catalogue was a bit boring, like doing sculpture that you can’t hug and sleep with. So I made a catalogue that looked like a sex magazine. I invited friends and colleges to write naughty stories or do an advertising. Now a very old dream came true, I am publishing my own cheap sex magazine! The 3rd issue will support the exhibition as a catalogue but also mixes with graffiti, architecture and installations.


How was your trademark character Bimbo doll born? Are there any different characters of Bimbo doll?

It was born in chaotic times between when I was with my ex-girlfriend, her nickname was bimbo, and an affair with a black girl. I like black culture. I was raised with jazz and funk.

There are many different characters. One is in underpants and has closed eyes. He looks Japanese. Later a Japanese person told me that in Japanese bimbo means poor man.


What’s your inspiration sources?


You are based in Barcelona. Why? What is the good part living and working in Barcelona?

I like to take my surfboard and walk to the beach, surf some waves and go back and start working.

Thank you for working on the SHIFT cover for the May issue! Could you tell us your ideas of the cover work?

Let’s see when I am finished with it.

What would you like to explore in the future?


Boris Hoppek “Ever”
Date: April 21st – July 12th, 2010
Open: 13:00-20:00
Address: 6-3-3 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Tel: +81-3-6418-5323
Curator: Kimiko Mitani Woo / MW Company

Text: Mariko Takei

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