Travelling in Serenity

Heide Hinrichs, Tatiana Macedo, Aldwin van de Ven
until 16th of July 2011

Yesterday I woke up in a box full of eggs. I remember that I took them on my journey; someone gave them to me with a ticket for the bus. While strolling around the bus station I discovered moulds, paper sheets, ducks and more eggs. In my sleepy drunken memories of that night, I encountered a place infused with some sense of calmness.

Perhaps at this point it is best to forget these memories and move to another place. But still sometimes things get mirrored or reconnected at one time or another. A captivating form of this reflexive process can be found in the current group exhibition at tegenboschvanvreden in Amsterdam. The gallerists invited three artists working with three different mediums: one painter, one sculptor and one photographer. The Dutch, German and Portuguese artists are not limited to these techniques, but instead come together with a series, a selection and an installation. Though they all speak their own language, it appears as though they shift and translate with an adopted tongue. The topic they are talking about is a complex personal narration developed in a rectangular space. The narrative seems fluid and follows the viewer's itinerary. Heide Hinrichs, Tatiana Macedo and Aldwin van de Ven provide a certain direction for this journey. It is Tatiana Macedo who opens the course with her seductive photographic series “Orientalism and Reverse”. Tourists arrive on new-looking holiday buses to the hybrid capital of Shanghai. They come in groups and stay for a short moment - in and out. Macedo approached their moving shells - their vehicles of protection - as they were standing, stubbornly, among the dirt and dust of unfinished car parks somewhere beside the spectacle. The London-based artist brings her camera close to the windows of the buses. In the reflection of each window, one can recognize traces of an urban environment that remains rather unspecific, as the traces give no clear indication of the bus's whereabouts. They seem quite universal. The depth that the photographer created takes the viewer into the picture somewhere behind or between the curtains. The fabric becomes so vivid that it moves far away from a tourist bus. This transformation of something fluid into something solid resembles an orientalist manifesto: the object of desire becomes simultaneously overtly clear and unclear. Collecting contemporary moments of collective Chinese identity produces a situation within which you lose your traces. E. W. Said writes in his book “Orientalism” that notions such as modernity, enlightenment, and democracy are by no means simple and agreed-upon concepts that one either does or does not find, like Easter eggs in the living room. Therefore, Macedo approaches somebody else’s window before she enters.

The complexity of notions like modernity, enlightenment or democracy cannot be discussed here, but they lead us to Heide Hinrichs, a German sculptor based at present in Brussels. She is a true collector of memories, moments and traces, and, more than that, a translator. She actually observes traces of modernity and retranslates them into their origin. Hinrichs' work is as much driven and influenced by concerns of language and literature as by her immediate environment. The artist carefully observes the texture of objects. This observation informs the transformative process and leads to something else. A new object of its own. At tegenboschvanvreden she brings her works in line with those of Macedo and van Ven. Maybe not really 'in line', but somehow she is the magical knot between the three. Her work embodies complex questions of cultural meaning in the three-dimensions. But Hinrichs' three-dimensionality is fragile and ephemeral. The artist uses materials like fabric, wood, paper-maché, cardboard boxes, paper, pencils and ballpoint pens. Her personal inventory also consists of reinterpreted found objects, like tire frottages or lost soccer balls. In one particular case, she started during her very early morning strolls through the streets of her neighbourhood to trace and hunt forms and shapes of car-mirrors. Although the title of her car-mirror series “Things are closer than they appear” reminds us of a general information/warning for drivers, meaning that a convex side-mirror depicts reality at a different distance, one can hardly anticipate – with the original object in mind - the magic of Hinrichs' transformation. Tracing objects, histories and situations becomes a trajectory in Hinrichs' artistic practice. Her attempt to reverse her own action can be found in many of her works – therefore it seems only natural that she turned a static moment into an animated reality. All of a sudden, we are in the middle of a tinted blue road movie, following an abstract journey through the history of design and economies.

As the night went on, I encountered the moon, a being with sweet thoughts and an octopus. Similar to what I saw before, it is the meaning of depth in which the Dutch artist Aldwin van de Ven is interested, but, even more, in the possibility of change. His multi-layered approach to painting enables him to hover in the state of betweenness. His painted objects seem to belong together; they have been only separated temporarily. Just for the moment, when dawn comes, they all come together again, hide under a different layer, appear and disappear – totally calm.

Susanne Weiß