A Letter to Heide Hinrichs
I do not feel very comfortable writing about your artistic work. Not so much that I do not know what to write but more due to the fact that your fragile objects and bodies placed within space hardly endure words and sentences. They invite us to perceive them in silence in order to dig into the logic of their internal thoughts. Nevertheless, I will try to describe what I see, how my observation tries to hear your work, how I perceive your objects. Your projects do not seduce. They are no objects that are easy to consume or that reach out to the spectator. By their material diversity your objects are the letters of a world which auto-poëtically shapes the space. Your sculptures are objects which allow a reflection on interpersonal relations. They invite us in our completely organized world to consult art. These are things which were developed in your hands, born between your ears, promising that they have no more than a nomadic, temporary existence: as essentially animated bodies which lead our perception towards what lies behind the objects. Your works are relicts of gone experiences or steps towards coming encounters. Your art embraces the idea of slowness. Your art expects the spectator’s engagement, an ability to listen like a ‘tongue carrying a house’ that is able to tell and promise images, like incidental spots on a piece of paper that draws your ideas, like a folded piece of cloth organizing contingency. I would, for one week, love to sleep in one of the beds in your exhibition “I am still in the Woods” in KunstVerein Ahlen in order to wake up in the morning and start my day by looking at your small clay sculptures, wooden objects and the others things. I would have a horizontal perspective on the world, as an animal does, flying above the landscape of your objects, to loose myself in the melancholy of your artistic thoughts. For which I thank you.

Philippe Van Cauteren, Gent, November 5, 2006

Dear Philippe,
Do you remember when I told you about the interventions I wanted to create for the places where Austerlitz and the narrator meet? About my discovery that the places are not fiction, but real; that though they have lost their original function, they are still in the condition described in the text, and so appeared to me as gaps? I had the intention then to build a set of transportable objects for those places that would suggest an archive ­ suggest the act of collecting, and the related processes of reading, unfolding and remembering; and through performance, create a connection between the environment, the architecture, and memory. I think the extent of the differences between the locations, as well as the power of their atmospheres, led me to reconsider my original intentions. I see the pieces now as a translation of Sebald‘s work into a three dimensional and pictorial form. Some of the objects still contain the idea of an archive and of loss, but now beside them, there are ephemeral places where memory may be created and grow; places endowed with the space and distance for that reflection. Currently, I am creating three costumes for three such places. There is one for a librarian, one for an astronomer, and one for a clown. Each of the costumes contains extensions which create the possibility of connecting to the environment, and each will be characterized by performance specific to its origin. In the end, I probably will visit Austerlitz‘s haunted places again.

With kind regards,


in I Am Still in the Woods, Kunstverein AhIen, 2006