Raphael Hefti has a novel approach to his experimentation with materials. He has a fascination with processes and often invents his own in order to achieve new results. His works blur boundaries between natural and industrial, abstract and representational. In the scope of his art works, Hefti frequently collaborates with technicians, scientists, and even dogs, in order to reveal unexpected beauty in ordinary materials. His approach is experimental in the sense that he likes to think through the physical and chemical dimensions of an industrial material or artistic medium in order to reveal new potentials in them.
For his solo exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary he visited a series of industries in the East Midlands. A visit to the Rolls Royce factory in Derby triggered a focus on the composition and treatment of metals in different states. In this coming together of high tech and heavy metal, Hefti references processes that otherwise remain invisible, but which form the crucial substructure of contemporary culture.
For his Lycopodium photograms Hefti dusts standard photo paper with “witch powder” or Lycopodium - flammable moss spores that combust when they are lit, directly exposing photosensitive paper. The finished results are compellingly beautiful, displaying explosions of colour that look like images of the cosmos – the fabric of our world.
Hefti’s iridescent glass pane sculptures, each unique, are made from special anti-reflective glass, commonly used to protect artworks and intended to be invisible. By multiplying the anti-reflective coating, Hefti renders the invisible visible, intervening in the process of manufacture in an experimental manner – after a lengthy research phase in the workshop – to create what is ‘his’ product.
On 5 November, Hefti will be presenting a performance in The Space at Nottingham Contemporary.
A catalogue produced by JRP Ringier will accompany the exhibition, featuring essays by Harry Burke (Poet and curator, London) and Alex Farquharson (Director, Nottingham Contemporary).
Hefti’s recent solo exhibitions include CAPC Bordeaux (2013), Camden Arts Centre, London (2012) and SALTS, Basel (2012). In 2012 he won the Swiss Art Award national prize.