November 4, 2023 – February 9, 2024
November 4, 2023 – February 9, 2024
JEPPE HEIN: SHARE YOUR PERSPECTIVESThe ARNDT Collection is delighted to announce the first solo presentation of sculptural works in Australia by internationally acclaimed Danish, Berlin-based artist Jeppe Hein in November 2023. This project will include an exhibition within the ARNDT Collection's The Artbarn Art Space, showcasing a selection of pieces from the artist’s key artwork series’ that include Hein’s coloured Mirrored Balloons and appellative neon texts glowing behind two-way mirrors. This survey of works will continue outside in the natural environment with a curation of large-scale outdoor sculptures from the artist's Modified Social Benches pieces staged throughout the ARNDT Collection's property in Cape Schanck, Australia; in addition to one of the artist’s famed Mirror Labyrinth installations.
Finding inspiration in the constant regeneration of perception, Jeppe Hein's work asks the viewer to become aware of the elemental processes that form sensory reality. Born from ideas in Eastern philosophy and sculpture's potential for profound spatial recombination, the works offer a world of experiential simultaneity. Hein is widely known for his production of experiential and interactive artworks that can be positioned at the junction where art, architecture, and technical inventions intersect. Unique in their formal simplicity and notable for their frequent use of humour, his pieces engage in a lively dialogue with the traditions of Minimalist sculpture and Conceptual art of the 1970s. The artist’s works often feature surprising and captivating elements which place spectators at the centre of events and focus on their experience and perception of the surrounding space that promote positive interaction and a sense of playful engagement.
Working with social issues, Hein utilises his sculptures as “tools” to get in touch with the world and others and “uncover the social aspects of society”. His Modified Social Benches exemplify this approach. Unlike typical benches, they consist of elongated, tilting, winding, and rapidly rising or falling lines of seating. These benches of course offer a place to sit, rest and observe one’s surroundings. However, their playful nature also makes them communication instruments, allowing users to climb, slide, jump and explore, while sharing smiles and laughter with the people they encounter on them. The bench designs borrow their basic form from the ubiquitous park or garden bench seen everywhere but are altered to various degrees making the act of sitting on them a conscious physical endeavour. Due to their alterations, the benches end up somewhere between a dysfunctional object and a functional piece of furniture, and therefore demonstrate the contradiction between artwork and functional object.
As with much of Hein’s prolific oeuvre, the works within this exhibition have been conceived with a sincere intent: to spark joy, alter perceptions, open the viewer to new experiences, and create the conditions that foster moments of empathy and fellowship.
As the artist furthers: “My work explores the situation between the viewer, the artwork and the environment, challenging the role of art in different environments and social contexts – in the museum as well as public space. Interaction is a distinctive element of my artworks; thus, the viewer plays a vital role. My installations offer the viewer the possibility of participation in the action of a piece, or of being confronted with the surprise of the unexpected. For me, the concept of sculpture is closely linked with communication. Rather than passive perception and theoretical reflection, the visitor’s direct and physical experiences are more important to me. Thus, I understand sculpture as a system of reference between space and viewer, with a capacity to communicate the process of »movement«, by which I attempt to break traditional attitudes and expectations of art.”
This exhibition is in collaboration with KÖNIG, GALERIE, Berlin.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Jeppe Hein (b. 1974) is a Danish artist based in Berlin. He studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Arts in Copenhagen and the Städel Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Frankfurt a. M. Solo shows include Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2022); Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2020); Breathe with Me at UN Headquarters and in Central Park, New York City (2019); Kunstmuseum Thun (2018); Château La Coste (2017); Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg (2015); Brooklyn Bridge Park New York (2015); Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm (2013); 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (2011); IMA - Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis (2010); ARoS Kunstmuseum, Århus (2009); Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2009); Carré d’Art, Musée d’art contemporain de Nîmes (2007); Sculpture Center, New York (2007); The Curve, Barbican Art Centre, London (2007); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2005) and P.S.1. MOMA, New York (2004) among others. He participated in La Biennale di Venezia’s 58th edition in 2019 and 50th edition in 2003. In 2022 he received the Carte Blanche by Maison Ruinart. Permanent installations are on view at ARKEN Museum of Modern Art (2021); La Guardia Airport, USA (2020); Fondation Carmignac, Porquerolles Island (2018); Kistefos-Museet, Norway (2016); Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (2013); City of Perth (2012); KUNSTEN Museum for Modern Art Aalborg (2011) and Bristol University (2009) among others.
EXHIBITION ESSAY - BRINGING YOU NEAR - BY RACHAEL VANCE
One can perceive Jeppe Hein’s artistic practice as a collection of encounters. In this way, the sculptural objects he produces are understood as complete upon their chance meetings with their audiences. Harnessing this potent and fundamental synergic dimension, Hein’s works exist within a phenomenological paradigm. It is indeed this notion of “making present” through his works that is of great interest to the artist and thus enables an exploration of interactivity.
At the heart of Hein’s oeuvre is the overarching idea of conceiving experiences that lead to insights into oneself beyond the everyday, while conjuring a sense of closeness. This experiential element of Hein’s practice is demonstrated via an immediacy and authenticity generated within his pieces. From the initial confrontation with the viewer, which sets up an emotional engagement, a broader reflection concerning the role and placement of art in society is also established. Hein cleverly creates a channel of connection directly through his dynamic sculptural objects in a variety of ways: through the use of mirrored panes, visual play and humour, spatial intervention, and direct messaging through the use of text. These strategies provide an invitation for the onlooker to take part in a dialogue with the works, espousing the communicative potential of art.
By distilling the lived experience as his point of departure, Hein explores the terrain of space and perception in his three-dimensional forms constructed from industrial materials such as reflective mirrored and polished surfaces, neon tubing, vibrantly coloured high grade steel and powder coated aluminium. Inextricably linked to the traditions of Conceptual Art, Minimalism and Op Art in their aesthetics and vision, his practice aims to challenge our physical experience of art which in turn shifts the focus inwards upon the viewer.
The curation of works within his solo exhibition “Share Your Perspectives” at The Artbarn in Cape Schanck, exemplifies how sculpture is so closely linked with communication. As Hein comments, “My work shall sharpen people’s senses, raise their awareness and perception of their surroundings, and encourage a dialogue between them. They are an excellent opportunity for social interaction, for playfulness and laughter, and for reflection of one’s view and behaviour. And I believe that sharing your perspective, exchanging your experiences with others, and opening up your heart to them, evokes people’s empathy that they will again pass on to others, which is needed in times like these.” It is precisely this exchange that visitors to the exhibition will indeed encounter as they physically negotiate his various pieces within the exhibition space and surrounding grounds outdoors in the natural environment.
With the same name as the exhibition title, the piece “Share Your Perspectives” (2022) is a wonderful example of the artist’s use of the mirror as a tool in replacing the internal experience with an external view. The action of the mirror—of reflecting back—becomes a strategy for seeing and also coming towards oneself face-à-face as an entity in the world. Here, the observer is presented with an ever changing reflection of themselves as a mirrored circle within a circle rotates clockwise at a slow pace upon the artwork’s highly polished surface powered by an electric motor.
Concerning the mirror in Hein’s work Kirsty Bell notes: “Not only does the mirror confront the viewer with their own image, however, but it can also extract a segment of reality from the seamless flow of time and space, and hold it up as an exhibit to be viewed from a distance. Many of Hein’s works rely on such unsettling or surprising qualities of the mirror for their effects; not the lateral slide from sense to nonsense that occurs in Alice’s Looking Glass, but an unmooring of the fixed coordinates of time and place, releasing them from their singularity and specificity.” The mirror is also located in the works “LET GO (handwritten)” (2019) and “I AM YOU (handwritten)” (2018) that display short, cryptic texts glowing in white neon light positioned behind two-way mirrors. In their simplicity, these works encourage the spectator to focus on their own experience in the present moment and the perception of the surrounding space.
Further opportunity for moments of introspection are also located in the works “In the Circle of Light, 2021”, “Third Eye Triangular” (2017) and “Invisible Eye” (2015) which also include properties of light and rely on the proximity and orientation of the viewer in their execution. In these pieces, a candle flame flickers behind two-way mirrors, layered with reflections of the onlooker. As a recurring motif in the history of art, the candle represents faith, life and the individual soul, as well as the ephemeral qualities of time. Combined with the two-way mirror in each instance, the flame and viewer merge into each other with the flame appearing as a third eye on the viewer’s forehead. Referring to the spiritual belief in an invisible eye as an intuitive centre, the third eye symbolise spiritual insight. It is no coincidence that the mirror is present in traditional rituals relating to spirituality, such as Buddhism, which Hein has studied extensively.
In juxtaposition to the wall and floor based pieces within The Artbarn, Hein’s well loved, vibrantly coloured mirrored balloons provide an element of surprise and sense of fun. Appearing suspended, these pieces are anchored to the ceiling and aim to alert audiences to be conscious of their surroundings.
The survey of works extends outside with a selection of large-scale outdoor sculptures from the artist's “Modified Social Benches” and “Modified Street Light” series which provide insights into Hein’s internationally acclaimed public art. Brightening the undulating grounds of the property in a charged palette of reds and yellow, Hein uses nature as a Spielraum (translated from German as play space). In this way, the artist creates further potential for participation with his re-imagined structures and objects from everyday life in inventive new forms. These experimental sculptural interventions interrogate the movement of bodies in space and social behavior, promoting social interaction via unconventional scenarios.
Borrowing their basic construction from the ubiquitous park bench, Hein’s “Modified Social Benches” are altered in order to shift the act of sitting into a conscious act. With their modifications—high arches, sharp bends, long legs and curved lines—they transform their surroundings into places of activity and foster exchange between the users and passers-by. Thus existing somewhere between dysfunctional objects and functional furniture. Equally, his whimsical “Modified Street Light” with its elongated, curved pole transcends the assumed function of providing light, promoting a visual dialogue with the environment.
With this ambitious presentation Jeppe Hein directs his audiences towards a reevaluation of the limits of art and an openness of experience; not only for and of themselves but also their position in relation to others and the space around them. By encouraging circumspection via his captivating sculptural reveries he successfully articulates an emotive space for the unexpected beyond the everyday. A space to shift our consciousness.
Jeppe Hein artist statement, 2023
 Kirsty Bell, excerpted from “Step Right Up,” in A Smile For You, Walther König, Köln, 2013
—Rachael Vance, October 2023
For further press enquiries and artist interviews contact: Rachael Vance, email@example.com