Berlin-based artist, curator and editor Rinaldo Hopf is the current Artist in Residence at TOM House in Los Angeles. Inspired by the work of Tom of Finland, the house and its residents, as well as the vicinity of Hollywood, he has created an orgy panorama using CinemaScope dimensions on dozens of sheets of Chinese paper. The result will be a surprise installation all over the house.
Rinaldo Hopf was born in Freiburg, West Germany in 1955. He studied Art, Cultural Anthropology and Religious History in San Francisco, Freiburg, and Bremen, both West Germany. Rinaldo worked as a Visual Artist in San Francisco and Paris and as an Art Therapist in Forensic Institutions in San Francisco and West Berlin. He currently lives and works as a Visual Artist, Editor and Curator in Berlin and Auroville, India.
Two books of his photography: Subversiv, 2004; Amore, 2006 and his art book Trickster, 2013 were published by Konkursbuch Verlag Claudia Gehrke, Tübingen, Germany. He edited the anthology My gay Eye, 3 - 13, 2006 - 2016 for the same publisher. In preparation is a special edition of My gay Eye on the collection of erotic art at the Tom of Finland Foundation in Los Angeles and Rinaldo’s new art book Movies of My Youth featuring his watercolors inspired by the films of R.W. Fassbinder, P.P. Pasolini and A. Warhol.
A Statement by The Artist
The human form, experience and interaction are the focus of my artistic practice, with a humanist ideal as an inspirational starting point. As the often cited quotation by the Roman playwright Terence says "I am a man, I consider nothing that is human alien to me.“ In my drawings and paintings, photographs and installations I am creating a colorful world that I want to live in, inhabited by beautiful rebels and courageous adventurers. I collaborate with friends, unknowns and icons alike and am interested in the many layers of appearance and identity, inward and outer beauty.
I am mostly working on handmade paper, combining all kinds of surfaces such as book pages, newsprint, movie posters, etc. - to add other cultural, historical or artistic dimensions to my portraits and figures. My preferred medium is watercolor that I am often using on very large formats and deeply saturated. Another favourite is gold leaf combined with ink drawing in Sumi–e technique. Throughout my whole career, I use photography both as artistic medium as well as reference for the drawings and paintings.
The archetypal figure of the Trickster has proved a main character throughout my work. In his aspects as a magician and joker, as well as a rascal and rogue, he connects the most diverse elements of my art with ease: the high and low, eroticism and spirituality, the poetic and the subversive.
In my ongoing project Naked Portraits, I am painting people of all walks of life, of various genders, age, races and creeds. The life size water color portraits depict the nude figure set against a black background that enhances the intensity of the colors and also evokes depth, implying timelessness. A naked portrait strips away the social façade that we construct with clothing. The universal nudity of all models creates a common link that puts imperfections into perspective, and also places a positive self-consciousness in the main focus of both the viewer and the model. While nakedness is essentially viewed as private, it still is virtually always taboo – and therefore a challenge for me to transcend accepted boundaries and step boldly into the future.
– Rinaldo Hopf