Stefanie Heinze

16 Mar — 22 Apr 2017 at the Pippy Houldsworth Gallery in London, United Kingdom

5 APRIL 2017
Stefanie Heinze, Exhibition view. Courtesy of Pippy Houldsworth Gallery
Stefanie Heinze, Exhibition view. Courtesy of Pippy Houldsworth Gallery

Pippy Houldsworth Gallery is delighted to present young German artist Stefanie Heinze’s first solo exhibition in the UK from 16 March to 22 April 2017.

'Painting has been my staple medium for years; it’s a medium that can flesh out contradictions. For me, image making is about impossibilities, how I can make a figure walk and lean back at the same time. Body parts, domestic objects, make up, and foodstuffs bleed into one another. The figures become their environment and the consumable products that we surround ourselves with ooze into their forms until it’s a tangled mass of abstraction.

I always start with a small drawing that I translate into large-scale paintings. In the process, I realise how colours and lines speak different languages and ultimately I am concerned with their conversation. I am intrigued by this ‘newsense' that comes out of tracing painting from drawing. Failure is always a possibility, but also an integral part of my imagery. Mistakes in the drawings are reinterpreted in the paintings. Ironically, it is impossible to redo the same mistake.

Large formats are ideal for the transferral of drawings to paintings; the way movement is shifted from the fingertips to the arm and body creates a motoric variance. I like investigating what happens during this physical painting process: how time plays an altered role, trace becomes illegible, and freedom intervenes. I like Philip Guston’s idea of the third hand in painting – the enigmatic quality of painting, the mysterious thing working in the process of painting, and what transpires during that process has always fascinated me.

I like to harness clumsiness in this activity as a tool. I am interested in how objects, environments, and figures can signal a social status or identity and how the rebellious mass of oil paint can change that as well. Domesticating it in thick or thin layers, scraping paint out, I play with colour connotations. I am always eager to deconstruct gender roles in a playful and evocative way. Gender and class can be deliberated through depictions of skateboards, high heels, or cigarettes. These objects may be pictured at the point of collapse, comparable to the way in which normative constructions of gender or predeterminations around class are distorted depending on your standpoint.

This instability recalls queer theory’s promise of difference, variability, and transition. Transformation and morphing are often depicted in cartoons and animated films and I draw a lot of inspiration from this. In programs like Betty Boop and Looney Tunes, characters morph on screen with or without their knowledge.

Characters do impressions of others and transform not only their voice but also their body into that person; Donald Duck switches effortlessly between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Evolution, opposites, and rivals are at play; toys, rocks, animals, and musical instruments are just as lively as people. I am interested in this imaging of transformation less for its entertainment quality and more as a crucial reflection on the persuasive influences on our personhood, environment, and culture. I try to keep this sensation of perpetual movement very present in my work.’

Stefanie Heinze (b. 1987, Berlin) studied at Academy of Visual Arts, Leipzig and now lives and works in Berlin.

She has been part of group shows in venues throughout Europe including Oslo National Academy of the Arts (2012); Hungarian University of Fine Arts, Budapest (2013); Forum Kunst Rottweil, Rottweil (2014); Centre d’Art de L’Hospitalet, Barcelona (2015); Rod Barton Gallery, London (2016) and Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London (2016). She was selected for the prestigious Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture residency in Maine in Heinze is currently showing work in Monday is a day between Sunday and Tuesday at Tanya Leighton, Berlin, and will also be part of Known Unknowns at Saatchi Gallery, London later this year. Pippy Houldsworth Gallery presented new work by Heinze at the Armory Show, 2017, New York.