Détours, Hasards & Monsieur Heinzmann
For his first exhibition at the Parisian location of Galerie Perrotin, Mr Heinzmann invokes detours and chance to gather an ensemble of works, each of which expresses a daring pictorial gesture, challenging chance not in order to abolish it but to celebrate it and thwart any formalism.
“A throw of the dice will never abolish chance”. Mallarmé, fully aware of his poetic means and of the Crisis of Modernity, threw these words and shook the world of poetry with this incredible poem, scattered on twelve double-page spreads, the words cascading, appearing in waves, in explosion, in constellation out of a unanimous horizon, unanimously white. Like Mallarmé, Thilo Heinzmann manipulates the means of painting, pushed to do so by the demanding creative and poetic gesture confronted to the void, the white backdrop of things, pushed to do so also because of the desire to continue to make Painting the privileged arena of encounters between physical substrates and the work on colours and texture.
The different substrates of surfaces vary, and with them the different qualities and values of white vary too. When the substrate is canvas, the painted surface is absorbent and dense, and almost frothy. Matt, neat, too perfect, when the substrate is aluminium. Subtly conspicuous when the support is wood, putting well forward what is exhibited to the eye, noticeably those pieces of polystyrene, playing on the contrast between natural and artificial materials. The quality of this material, disposable and synthetic, as cut and stuck as it is on the plain white surface, complicates the perception of the surface of Painting – surface is neither neutral, nor flat, nor smooth, nor innocent. It complicates also the notions of usage and finality of materials. Depending on the material and visual qualities of the chosen substrates, Thilo Heinzmann interferes and hence subverts the ideas of representation and utility, defending the possibility of a suspension of utilitarian thinking and perception focusing on actual sensations challenging clichés. There, he works on the physical tension between wood and polystyrene. Here, on the sensitive and visual sensations caused by the scratchy hessian, wrinkled and stained. Over there, he plays with the feelings caused by the vision of perforation, incision, laceration of the hard white metal. He is encouraged to do it by the warm colours whose path on the surface is followed and reinforced by the cuts through the surface. The cuts keep the rhythm of the incisive gesture, leaving scars in the metal.
Pigment jets originate from the same gesture, evoking sensations of detonation, energy and flashes. Glowing clouds have formed themselves on the surface, making almost the sound of sand, of effervescent powder, sparkling. The action of Painting takes power over the white, over the power of its neat splendour. The work on the material elements of painting achieves chemical operations which generate paradoxical aesthetical and pictorial qualities, conveying the feeling instinctive composition mostly minimalist.
Painting is facing here three of its conditions of possibility: chemical, material and paradoxically hazardous: chances are taken with the materials, with the physical reactions, with the gesture achieving precise chance in the outcome. The gesture here has the audacity of putting the historical tension between figurative and abstract painting in the background, for the benefit of the sensory and actual tension between texture, colour, the materiality of substrates and surfaces. Thilo Heinzmann researches on the perceptual and visual elementary means of painting. He is on the lookout. Either for capturing the mineral quality of pigments, and to maintain their volatility and the brightness of their colour, radiant and irradiated, fluorescent, witnesses and actors of the process of transfiguration of light in colours. Or for trapping pigments in the seductive epoxyde – compelling seduction of colour spreading out as a pure material, activating the utopia of colour without form, without object, inversing the traditional conceptual and metaphysical hierarchy between Form and Matter.
O. T. The titles of all the paintings are here formed of the initials of “Ohne Titel”. The object of the painting will not be captured by words. No objective representations here. Thilo Heinzmann’s art does not produce images since images are imitations of the outlines of things. So, in order to face the void, the white nothingness, (in order) to make something actually appear, Thilo Heinzmann follows a pictorial dynamics renewing itself by researching pure poïesis, pure making. The object of research is the right gesture which does not aim at representing well-defined, finite things, but which aims at finding the right moment when it can draw from an original energy, source for an immense fecundity. We well perceive that what is at stake here is not objective representation but research on living impulses, spurting out, with its strong aesthetics properties and its visual ambiguity. And in order to seize the moment it is spurting out, the gesture is ready to stop midway, taking the chance of giving way to the unfinished and the void.
The poiesis challenge explains that the artist pays more attention to the commencement of things than to define finite contours of things. Hence a relaxation of the tension with the appearance of things. A feeling of suspension, of freedom, emanates from the ensemble of this pictorial initiatives, each time unique, each piece echoing a common origin but diverging more and more: the group of pigment paintings make appear various geometrical relations: parallel, homothetic, perpendicular, topological, making the white vibrant with the different wavelengths between mineral blue lagoon pigments and earthy brazen ones.
Thilo Heinzmann gives us access to a broader sensitive perception of the creation process itself, tirelessly begun again and continued. Creation is continued because it is begun again for each new start for the pictorial gesture. For each painting, Thilo Heinzmann knows one tiny place, a detonation point, where apparition can strike, like those orche-coloured marks, like drops of dried blood on the hessian, or these traces of phantom paintings on the large sheet of polystyrene. He weighs the need of the amplitude of the necessary material perturbation added to the first surface, he evaluates where it should stop and leave room for the void, and start again in some place else of the surface to create a variation and stimulate the feeling of precarious and unexpected equilibriums which will remain on the painting – moving forms have appeared well and truly and paradoxically remain still.
Thilo Heinzmann releases the tension with the appearance of things, and our visual fascination for them, in order to convey the strong feeling of an extreme tension between the visible and the invisible in those white plane spaces, encaged in Plexiglas. The transparent cages retain the trace of the movement of existence, where fundamental and minute equilibriums are at play before our own eyes. And “this is the magic of life” according to Paul Klee: this is the strength to exist in between those equilibrium and unbalance, which solely the means of painting can capture.