BETWEEN HERE AND NOW
Opening: Friday, March 20th, 2015
Exhibition: March 21st – April 30th, 2015
Wasteland has always intrigued Stef Heidhues (*1975 / Washington D.C.). The artist understands these desolate areas characterized by graffiti-adorned decaying architectural remains, accumulated garbage, and overgrown vegetation as interfaces between the past and the future, as shapeable play areas not unlike that of a gallery space. The current exhibition bearing the enigmatic title »BETWEEN HERE AND NOW« can be read as a recreation, a recollection of the varied nature of wasteland areas. ›Between here and now‹ is an imaginary space that opens up in terms of time and space, thus it is above all a place for thoughts and ideas.
Each artwork (all are from 2015) presented in the gallery stands on its own, yet together they form a carefully composed installation, a course, which seen straight-on from the outside appears like a picture, but can actually be entered from the side. The half-overturned »Railing« – the most recent work in a series with the same title that has been in the making for some time, despite its obvious damage leads past »Sign«, a flare with an overly long cable that forms a pile. »Stack« consists of three aluminum shapes forming a modular, interconnected system of planes, which here are presented as a loose pile. In contrast to industrial forms, the surfaces have been treated by hand – an ambivalence characteristic of many of Stef Heidhues’s works. All objects show aspects of functionality that ultimately remain unclear. Nevertheless, in their pseudo functionality these pieces are highly aesthetic and primarily works of art. This is also true for the »Protectors (wax)«, hearing protection muffs and safety goggles cast in bees’ wax, which hang on a hook. In the sculptural process, executions in wax serve usually as a preliminary stage for casting in metal, but here they are understood as independent sculptures and are presented as such. Although Stef Heidhues plays with function and dysfunction, she also plays with sculptural conventions such as the hierarchy of materials or the relationship between industrial manufacture and the handmade. Installed opposite the gallerist’s desk in the gallery is the wall object »Regler (blau)« [Regulator (blue)], which marks the ›control center‹ like an oversized receiver.
The main room of the gallery on the ground floor plays with the possibilities of interior and exterior, while the smaller room in the basement is conceptualized as a ›machine room‹. Connecting the elements between the main floor and the basement are the »Protectors«, the version below executed in aluminum. Mounted on MDF and placed under a glass panel, the photograph »PLAY« appears like an object, almost like a (play) button. In the photograph space, plane, and perspective appear ambivalent – the image of an area of urban wasteland appears almost like a collage that picks up on the play of space and time, possibly located ›between here and now‹. The »Aggregat« with inductor, screen, and conductors disposes of a vocabulary of forms derived from a technical and technological context. Newly assembled, it creates an object showing functional aspects partly contradicting each other. The object, however, withstands these contradictions. This is true not only for »Aggregat«, but also for a number of other works by Stef Heidhues from the series the »Protectors«, »Railings«, and »Helmets«. The technical language of forms is basic, and essentially, the works never pretend to be anything other than what they are – works of art.
Barbara J. Scheuermann