[October 30 2015]
It’s hard to look at Dennis Hopper’s exhibition at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac—the one in Pantin—without having flashbacks to the actor cum photographer cum avant-garde cinematographer’s wistful, longing eyes, or elsewhere seeing that handlebar moustache that he pulled off so surprisingly well in Easy Rider. However, the focus here is not on Hopper himself, rather as the title ‘Icons of the Sixties’ suggests, an array of influential colleagues and confidents that helped spur the artist to infamy. There’s Warhol, of course, at the heart of it all, and with Warhol comes a slew of familiar faces (especially for those whom recently visited the Warhol Unlimited show currently on view at MAMVP): Paul Newman, Peter and Jane Fonda, John Giorno. There’s the art crowd, poppy East Coast minds like Rauschenberg and Johns, Bruce Conner, Rosenquist, Niki de Saint-Phalle and Tinguely; Tina and Ike Turner, Jefferson Airplane. The silver, seductive photographs pre-date Easy Rider by a decade, but might as well prelude the creative influences that brought it into being. At the centre of it all, an odd and oddly futuristic sculpture entitled Bomb Drop, an anti-war monument of an enlarged bomb drop switch made in 1967. He anecdote that follows this says it all — it was made as Hopper was “junking out” with Ed Kienholz — which pretty much surmises the intense proximity and conviviality of the time.
Text and photo Sabrina Tarasoff