Jeppe Hein | This Way
Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg | 15.11.2015–13.3.2016
Which direction? Right, left or straight ahead? This will be the defining question of the exhibition This Way by the Danish artist Jeppe Hein (b. 1974). Although the exhibition bears the directional title This Way, Jeppe Hein precisely does not make this decision for the visitor. The mind, the body and the senses are all needed when the museum’s large exhibition hall is turned into a labyrinth. In large, small, triangular or polygonal spaces, on narrow or wide paths, at dead ends and crossings or on squares, the visitor encounters key works by Jeppe Hein and is surprised by new and site-specific pieces. Loud and soft, subtle and powerful, fast and slow, spiritual and material—Jeppe Hein creates diverse energy fields by means of shifts in atmosphere and tempo. Each visitor retains the freedom to choose his own individual path through the exhibition.
The exhibition in the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg represents the first extensive survey in Germany of Jeppe Hein’s sculptures, installations, works on paper and action spaces. His works veer between minimalism, kinetics, concept art and social sculpture. Clear geometrical forms such as the circle, sphere, square, cube, rectangle spiral and labyrinth have belonged to his artistic vocabulary since the late 1990s; his materials include mirrors, steel, chrome, light bulbs, neon lights as well as the elements water, ice and fire. For Jeppe Hein, the object not only stands for itself but also for the idea of a tangible work of art in particular. The receiver is not supposed to view his works only passively but sense them actively instead and even activate them.
Whether we are aware of it or not, we all go down numerous paths every day, not only covering longer or shorter distances but also first and foremost inner paths. In the process, however, we often fall prey to a kind of automatism, losing contact to the here and now as well as to ourselves. This Way does not have answers at the ready but is aimed instead at providing resonance experiences for a chronically overextended society such as our’s that is in pursuit of a proper work-life balance. Jeppe Hein’s works transport vibrations very much in this sense, whether literally in that they generate tones or frequencies, or figuratively as experiences of empathy. They promote the discourse between the piece, the viewer and the surroundings, meeting the need for social resonance that permanently accompanies us in our own pathfinding processes.
Jeppe Hein offers very personal insights, permits the visitor to participate in his search for his own path. Since his burnout in December 2009, Hein is facing the essential questions of life. They are reflected in his unsparingly honest and touching watercolor diary encompassing hundreds of sheets that both conceptually and literally frame the exhibition. New artistic and spiritual components make themselves evident with these works. The spectrum of his materials has become broader. Sound, resonance, silence, fragrances and breathing shape his new works and reflect his dealings with Far Eastern philosophies and practices such as Buddhism, Yoga and meditation. In this sense his works increasingly transport spiritual contents, sensitizing the viewer for the moment and returning him to the here and now.
The bilingual (German/English) exhibition catalogue edited by Ralf Beil and Uta Ruhkamp will mirror the path system in This Wayand feature numerous exhibition views, an extensive interview with Jeppe Hein in addition to contributions by Peter Høeg, Finn Janning, Hartmut Rosa and Uta Ruhkamp, among others.
Photos: Marek Kruszewski
Courtesy of Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg