Seeing this photograph of you at our 2017 exhibition makes me smile and conjures up wonderful memories. Since then, one brief but very important moment has kept coming back to me: My burning desire to collaborate with you began as a vision in my mind and, luckily, this eventually led to our first meeting. Somehow, I had to bring up the institution’s budgetary framework – and I was worried about doing so. As the financial starting point for any exhibition at Museum Haus Konstruktiv is invariably zero, I always try to sound out the feasibility of a project as early as possible and to develop a sense of what a future collaboration would be like. I was in danger of running out of time to touch upon this, so I had to let the cat out of the bag and, without ceremony, I explained the situation by saying: “You know, this institution is not able to work with divas.” I was imagining all conceivable scenarios from the world of stars, involving luxury wishes that the institution could not fulfil. You immediately replied by pointing out that there is a big difference between acting like a diva and being a diva. There it was, the perfect irrefutable response that sealed the collaboration and reconciled me with my working conditions. Thank you very much for that!
Having Thilo Hoffmann’s portrait before my eyes now fills me with joy, and I notice my gaze drawing a connection between the position of your feet, the neon installation and its content. With one foot in front of the other at a 90° angle, a direct look and a sense of calm, you are framed by the 2017 piece ‘Neon Forms (after Noh IV)’ and the museum’s 1930s industrial architecture. The installation’s complex linear formal arrangement reflects sequences of movements and steps passed down from generation to generation over the centuries and performed by dancers in traditional Japanese Noh theatre – a theme that has fascinated you for some time. The installation’s short lines can be read as Noh’s typical gliding steps, the curved lines as a possible movement of a kimono sleeve, or the circles as a movement connecting a beginning with an end. In the photograph, your feet also seem ready to perform a sweeping motion. Likewise, your hands could at any moment dance out of your coat pockets and set the garment swaying. As if in a staged pause capturing the moment of being, your movements remain poised to become those of a dancer, filmmaker, artist and thinker in the next instant. A true diva! – In the most brilliant and interesting way. Looking forward to seeing you again soon. From Zurich with love!