It is a great pleasure for Andersen's Contemporary to present the German artist Thilo Heinzmann's first solo exhibition in Denmark, an exhibition displaying both painting and sculpture.
Heinzmann's artistic practice is characterized by the use of familiar materials, though materials unknown to painting. It is known that by avoiding traditional materials you can expand your proces and workflow and debunk the 'traditional' values of painting and the transmission of the same. To use low grade or poor materials is a relatively simple defense against these values, but Heinzmann's materials are in the opposite end of the register. A listing of some of them may give an idea: feathers, papyrus, animal skins, marble lacquers, crystals and minerals, molten lead, molten tin, pure pigment, aluminum, epoxy, plexiglas, rabbit fur, badger fur, seashells, etc. Heinzmann is using distinctively multivalent materials replete with historical, metaphorical, poetic, and utilitarian values.
On display is a large work titled Aicmo. It is an aluminium board measurring more than 3 metres. It has been pierced or cut, but there's nothing crazy about it, no sense of destruction or violence. Heinzmann's method rather seems calculated: the holes here are carefully cut through and disrupt only a small portion of the surface. The edges of the slit-like holes peel outwards as exit wounds indicating that the attack has come from behind. A sharp instrument was used, but high degree of control was exercised to keep the hole size and depth within a narrow range.
The gallery's main room show four large sculptures made of transparent epoxy-resin and pure pigments - burgundy, blue, green, and gold. They are all titled Heinze which may be translated into stack or rick - a special tripod for drying hay. The sculptures are flexible and can be opened or closed like an umbrella. With their heighs of approx. 170 cm they achieve a kind of antropomorph caracther: They stand on the floor and interact with eachother, with the room and with the viewer.
In this room is also displayed three wall-hung works of hessian. Plentifull fabric is carefully arranged in rectangles while straight lines of epoxy-resin line out a geometric pattern on top. The works are in boxes of Plexiglass. Thus, in these works also, Heinzmann is examining the enourmous range of opportunities for painting, though largely without the use of paint, canvas or brush, and without the texture-oriented and space-creating power of color.
In the gallery's smaller room is displayed four paintings made with oil and pure pigments on canvas. Also these works are covered by a surface of Plexiglas. In keeping with Heinzmann's practice they are cool, measured works; selfreferential paintings about painting, that somehow manage to avoid parody and endgame scepticism. They corral vast amounts of art history although this occurs in a extremely subtle but nevertheless very conscious level. In these paintings - as in the exhibition's other works - it becomes clear that Heinzmann is working with an uncanny precision - every detail is contemplated - and the result is both an extremely precise and sharp expression and a highly qualified bid on the opportunities within painting in contemporary art.
Thilo Heinzmann (b. 1969, Germany) lives and works in Berlin and graduated from Städelschule in Frankfurt. He has recently had solo exhibitions at Carl Freedman Gallery (London), Kunstverein Heppenheim, Galerie Christine Mayer (Munich), Bortolami (New York) and Galerie Guido W. Baudach (Berlin).
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