kunstverein
göttingen

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Heiko
Blankenstein

15.02. – 31.03. 2012

Grundrauschen

A guitar player rises above a landscape, buoyed by a bed of grass. Goats on a mountain grow trophy-like antlers, and a glittering garden has sprouted in the exhibition space. The scenarios depicted in Heiko Blankenstein’s intricate large-scale drawings and sculptural installations adhere to laws of their own. Combining sources ranging from early astronomical illustration to real landscapes and pop culture, his masterly rendered imagery depicts strange mutations of the natural and its odd fusions with objects from the human sphere. A solitary human figure repeatedly appears - either floating above the ground or playing the guitar - as both sender and receiver of an anonymous cosmic vibration. Running throughout Blankenstein’s exhibition GRUNDRAUSCHEN are the double themes of the elemental creative force of nature and the distress engendered by human intervention in the natural world. In English the title means both “atmospheric noise” or also the term “noise floor” which in communications is the sum of all intended signals together with undesired noises (both natural and man-made). In short, natural and human "interference" are combined. This idea is manifested in the focal sculptural work of the exhibition twelvesoundtreetable, in which an amplifier feeds into a tree sprouting from a table, both of which seem to form an abnormally blue-patterned unit. The sound emerging from the amp is a mixture of static, music fragments, and a talk by Stephen Hawking on the fourth dimension. In another installation created specifically for Göttingen a glittery field of copper plants has sprouted between two columns. Depicted in an "ordinary" meadow with dandelions and clover, the kind of field that is increasingly disappearing due to urbanization, the cultivation of monocultures, and pesticides. These growths are certainly threatened by the radiating explosion depicted in the drawing Monsanto supernature, named after the infamous multinational producer of genetically altered seeds. Above all, it is the tone and color of Blankenstein’s works - especially the acid green of his glowing lightboxes - that add an additional layer of the surreal and psychedelic. Cosmology and chaos theory have consistently informed the artist’s work, but ultimately his view of nature always conveys a sense of the unnatural. Expansive landscapes recalling the romantic painting tradition are bathed in a synthetic light. Nevertheless, they are void of sarcasm or irony. While GRUNDRAUSCHEN speaks to the increasing artificially of the nature around us, Blankenstein simultaneously responds by attuning himself to these altered rhythms.(LSch)