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Stef Heidhues »Mongolische Reiter«
opening: Friday, October 30th, 2009, 7pm
exhibition: october 31st – December 18th, 2009
Cologne Contemporaries:
november 20th, 6-9pm + november 21st, 12-6pm
artist talk with Natalia Stachon:
November 22nd at Temporary Gallery Cologne 
In the times of Ghengis Khan, the military super power of the Mongolians was based almost exclusively on light cavalry, consisting mainly of archers on horseback. Their riders were able to shoot their arrows in the suspension phase of full gallop, effortlessly reaching their targets from a distance of up to 300 meters. This ability demanded highest control of the body, strength as well as precision and agility, swiftness and dynamic – all in all an unbelievable act of balance.
    Thus the sculptress and installation artist Stef Heidhues entitles her first solo exhibition at Galerie Marion Scharmann »Mongolische Reiter« (Mongolian Riders). Even if the at first obvious problem of static and balance not unknown to any sculptor can be found again in Heidhues’ delicate and statically often risky compositions, the artist’s interest in this case is rooted deeper. She is interested in the continuous act of balance per se, in the tug-of-war between concrete images and associations on the one hand and the autonomous form, composition and the strong expression of the material on the other.
    The spatially most expansive work in the exhibition, entitled »Tent«, is an installation made of thin metal rods and black and white sail cloth. Simple tent architecture flashes up briefly before the spiritual eye, yet it appears as though a storm has raged and swept the tent towards the wall of the gallery where it came to a halt, jammed into a corner, and is now suspended above the viewers’ heads. Looked at from close-up, however, it turns out to be a delicate construction that has been painstakingly thought through step by step. The first association fades away, and the beauty and delicacy of the autonomous form comes to the fore. The same is true for the work »L’arc et la fleche« [Bow and Arrow], a composition of found rusted iron pieces, wood and brass that suggest a condition of tension. However, upon a closer look one is of two minds because the delicate object does not reveal its actual construction. One begins to ask oneself: What is holding what here? Is it at all possible statically? And one feels caught in a puzzle of apparent cognition and its immediate loss.
    Often a found object serves the artist as a foundation stone, as an initial spark for a new work while she approaches the final form of her objects gradually - change by change, a continuous act of balance between chance and deliberate decision, influence by the material and artistic autonomy. In Stef Heidhues’ art the exploration and experimentation with forms and possibilities of continuous change replace the production of an assumedly definite work of art as the basis and motor of art per se.
(Text: Natalia Stachon / translated by Uta Hoffmann)

Stef Heidhues, »Tent«, 2008
cloth, aluminium tubes, varnish, approx. 280 x 310 x 180 cm
installation view