The question of the location of self, its spatial allocation as well as the inner and outer manifestation of its shape, is intrinsic to Heike Aumüller’s artistic work. Aspects of an individual, which are concealed or distorted by external structures – often voiced in a prosthesis-like employment of the human body in her photographies and films – frequently form the point of departure for the visual artist and musician. Aumüller complements her cineastically realistic yet surreally staged …
The question of the location of self, its spatial allocation as well as the inner and outer manifestation of its shape, is intrinsic to Heike Aumüller’s artistic work. Aspects of an individual, which are concealed or distorted by external structures – often voiced in a prosthesis-like employment of the human body in her photographies and films – frequently form the point of departure for the visual artist and musician. Aumüller complements her cineastically realistic yet surreally staged images with drawings and objects, which she unites in installations in the context of the exhibition, thus enhancing them through a component of direct self-positioning regarding image, object and space. We are pleased to present her artwork in her third solo show in our Berlin gallery space.
The video projection “Hee Haw” shows two human bodies – one female and one male – each veiled with a horse mask and, in part, with underwear and nylon clothing, who enter a room and present a dance-like performance. One figure mimetically follows the movements of the other, until finally both converge in an even, synchronised sequence of movement. The film, shown in slow-motion, contains images that entail a simulated acceleration of the action. It is essentially dominated by the sounds of the movement – the performers’ sequence of steps – creating a rapid staccato rhythm. Here, acoustics conveyed through the body become a substitute for verbal language, which is omitted in favour of a purely gestural narration.
Yet in Heike Aumüller’s photography, the focal point is the frozen gesticulation of the body and the stasis of a scene: The partially clothed or naked body of a woman seems to be nearly implanted into an interior or directly into its furniture, whereby the whole body is never visible, but only a fragment. Aumüller physically inscribes the corporeal into the space, and by excluding the facial expression belonging to the person’s body, allows it to become a pure object. Aumüller’s imagery often creates a sexual connotation in the way the bodies are positioned in the rooms in respect to the items of furniture. Analogies between man and animal, transported via props and costume often recreate the human body as an animalistic or grotesque sheath for a superordinate, entirely sculptural idea.
The active and passive forms of this sheath also feature as the motif of the video installation “Bloody as Usual”: While one of the two video monitors shows a silent, oppressive and suggestive visage, partially masked with nylon, facing the viewer, the other shows a topless woman, boxing at the camera, actively intervening with her body in auto-focussed action. By revealing and concealing physiognomies, here Heike Aumüller creates a sense of introspectiveness for the protagonists of her piece out of distance and divergence, but dissolves it simultaneously in a search for shape. The subjective localisation of a body as well as its identification as a self initially exists as alienation in Heike Aumüller’s visual language – but it is always on the threshold of a notional approximation to the familiar, remembered and prefigured.
translation: Zoë Claire Miller