curated by Philippe Van Cauteren at the Boiler Room, Galeria Jaqueline Martins, Brussels, september 07 – october 14, 2023
Letter: to Heide Hinrichs (3)
This is the third letter I am writing to you. Still, I find language a shaky scaffolding to attach meaning to. For over 20 years, I have been following your work, resulting in numerous collaborations (Hamburg, Ahlen, Ghent, Lovenjoul, Kathmandu). And so, for more than 20 years, it’s been fascination and admiration that help me see. I could call myself an expert, but I prefer to remain a devoted dilettante. One project that stood out was ‘On Some of the Birds of Nepal (Parting the Animal Kingdom of the East)’ (2017) in connection with the Kathmandu Triennial in Kathmandu, Nepal. Just as you once brought a wooden horse to the steppes of Mongolia, you temporarily transported a book with drawings of birds from London to Kathmandu. This description does injustice to the complexity of the project in Kathmandu but articulates your nomadic disposition, and your tendency to displace things in time and space. Translation, repetition, and copying are also ways of displacing. ‘Silent Sisters/Stille Schwestern’ (2018) is a book project that at its core consists of your German translation of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s book ‘Dictee’, and in your drawing series ‘Übergang’ (2017), you’ve made a frottage of the wooden floor of your living space. The exhibition at Galeria Jaqueline Martins also carries some form of ‘displacement’. The works rest in the gallery’s basement for a certain period. The works don’t attach themselves; they temporarily arrive in the gallery in their ephemeral nature. Each of the three works bears the traces of something else. ‘Last season. I had all these small earthquakes’ is the title of the exhibition. A specific moment when many small intense events occurred. Is it a biographical reference, or is it an invitation for the viewer to contemplate time and place and what can happen in between? ‘Carbon Copies (Inscriptions)’ consists of various unfolded leporellos on bookstands made of paper-mache. The drawings inside are copies of reduced copies of drawings that Heide Hinrichs showed in the exhibition ‘Risquons-Tout’ at Wiels. The artist reproduces drawings by artists such as Silvia Bächli, Andrea Büttner, Eva Hesse, Luchita Hurtado, Lee Lozano, Lygia Pape, Meret Oppenheim…. Redrawing is a way of moving into lines and strokes that were there but are revived in the act of repeating and copying. Heide Hinrichs’ handwriting connects pieces of significant artistic oeuvres into an intimate drawn inventory. In ‘Last Season (Feuilleton)’, the work of another artist is repeated as well. Reproductions in books of late monumental paintings by Lee Lozano are enlarged and drawn in pencil on carefully selected pages from the Süddeutsche Zeitung. We see photos of Ingeborg Bachmann, Chantal Akerman, Annie Ernaux and Rosemarie Trockel, artists and creators who share a late or posthumous recognition of their work. Simultaneously, the drawing on the newspaper removes the four icons from the newspaper’s inflationary organization. Finally, ‘Last Season’ is an artwork consisting of rope and dried leaves from a tree. It is a mnemonic image of a season or the passing of time, a sculpture that, in its simplicity, reminds us how, as humans, we walk among the traces of nature. The work is also a drawing, a poetic articulation of Heide Hinrichs’ nomadic artistic being, something that has been created between the hands and was born between the ears.
Philippe Van Cauteren, Cabourg, August 25th 2023