To Be And To Be
There is a forensic quality to Thilo Heinzmann’s Colour Aicmos. The slits and perforations that first appeared in 2008 in a series of works christened Aicmo, defiling the works’ surfaces with spatterings of holes, also perform a scientific investigation that takes Fontana’s erotically charged gesture of slashing the canvas to another analytical level. They attack the surface (not canvas but a high-performance honeycombed aluminum) from behind to discover its dimensionality and distill time into an active present.
The last twenty years of Heinzmann’s sequential bodies of work reveal incremental developments that examine material questions from various perspectives, but remain consciously within the category of “Painting”. This category provides a pre-given structural framework within which to explore the nature of support and medium as material facts, or representation and its limitations, the codified history of technique and gesture, or the haptic qualities of touch and texture. In previous series, this has lead Heinzmann to include materials or objects adhered to or inlaid into the works’ surfaces – crystals, blown glass, porcelain, leather, fur, cotton wool, wood, feathers –that side-step the task of painterly illusion by simply representing themselves. An essentially inquisitive nature reveals itself in sequences of well-researched and highly controlled demonstrations. Although chance is harnessed to play a role, there is nothing haphazard about them.
Heinzmann’s work proposes links with a modernist tradition in painting, but extracts the tradition-fixed gestures from their settled place, allowing them to play out on a newly synthetic stage, one that has been wiped clean of post-modern counter-criticism and embraces the potential of craft and technique. Instead of the porous weave of the canvas support, we are offered a flat and slick metallic surface, uniformly white, on which these codified gestures play out. The Colour Aicmos bring together two separate bodies of enquiry. Firstly, the emergence of dimensionality and rupturing of the dialectic of inside and outside and illusion that the Aicmos perform. Secondly, the idea of colour as event that occurs in an earlier series of work, where coloured pigment scatters across the surface of a specially prepared canvas, demonstrating the physical properties of colour, time and space in instantaneous form. The instantaneity of colour as event continues in this new body of work in which Heinzmann devises his own custom-made medium by combining pure pigments with a liquid resin, resulting in a tantalizingly glossy liquidity that approximates the properties of paint but behaves more like blown glass or ceramic glaze. Here, Pollock’s drips have been isolated and hybridized until they are a far remove from allover painting, or abstraction as such, and have rather to do with colour as a liquid state. Their placement is determined by the pre-given arrangement of slashes in the metal surface, not the clusters of outbreaks of very early Aicmos, but a rehearsed choreography of pared-down gestures. Their fluid forms act in relation to the self-devised flaws and tears in the works’ surface to describe an event stilled in the moment. Though they articulate a relation of support and medium, they do so from an analytical distance, as if the result of some extra-human cosmic phenomenon.
Countering the synthetic appearance of these works is an urgency that comes from the intensity of an enquiry that is metaphysical at root. These are events that occur on a molecular level in which desire is a chemical instance, and velocity a defining factor.