Gabriele Heidecker

I met Gabriele during Art Dubai 2009 and we actually worked together on the Fair. Since then, she’s become a good friend. I particularly enjoy her “eye” and I thought it might be interesting to ask her a couple of questions on her inspiration, her book, and her life. This will also be the perfect introduction for my next posts on Art Basel, I am just back from the fair…

Can you please introduce yourself and your background?

I am an artist working in the field of installation, drawing, painting, video and photography. In my early twenties I studied art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart and history of art at the University of Stuttgart and at Freie Universität Berlin. My father’s books on Indian and Asian art in general inspired my curiosity in these fields of art when I was a child. So therefore I developed a natural interest in this aspect in art which was even increased by visiting the fabulous museums in Berlin. As a consequence I took up studying Indian, Asian and Islamic art and undertook my first journeys to Asia.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Regarding my installation work it just comes up like this: Suddenly – sometimes inspired or brought forward by current affairs or psychological analogies – before my inner eye the complete and ready-made installation work appears. The next step involves putting into practice my vision, i.e. finding ways of making it happen technically, logistically and financially.

In the field of photography: When making documentary photographs of my installations I discovered a new level of approach and consequently developed a new kind of interpretation in photo works.

As regards my photographs of the art fairs I sensed that there were different atmospheres at the various art fairs and stage-like setting of the gallery booths and the interacting of objects and art and people. Some characteristics of art pieces became more and more important for the interpretation my photographs went through: It is the reflection between the individual objects of art and by mirroring each other creating new images. It is these images that I discover and frame.

Do you feel close to the contemporary art world?

Yes – in my own way.

How would you describe yourself and how would you describe your art?

I have an ecclesiastical interest in the world. I take up atmospheres, scientific findings, political and historic phenomena: past, present and future. My art is a reflection of what I perceive and absorb. It very often condenses my actual perception into a sur-real realistic view.

What other photographers do you feel close to?

There are some contemporary artists whom I feel close to: Jenny Holzer, Marina Abramovic, Rebecca Horn – to name just a few.

How far do you hope to go artistically speaking?

With some works I have been at the edge of what I could say – but in the future I will be much more radical. As you know from the history of arts: The older the artist gets, the less fear is felt towards whatever (not even the art critics).

Can you tell us about your book?

The book “Art Affairs” (published by Hatje Cantz in December 2007) was the result of a six-year-project visiting the great Art Fairs mostly in Europe but also Art Basel Miami Beach and Art Beijing (See below the announcement of the book by Hatje Cantz). I got in touch with Hatje Cantz publishers who took on the idea. More than six months it took me to get from gallery owners, exhibitors, curators and private persons the permission to depict them and to clear up the rights for the works of art seen on the photos. The selection and composing of the book was a very interesting process between the responsible of the publisher, the layout specialist and me. Finally the 3 authors wrote about the art fairs as a contemporary phenomenon, about the way a take my photographs and realise my art ideas. It was a great decision from Hatje Cantz, the publisher, who decided to include the translations of the 3 essays into English, German, French, Spanish and Chinese.

In December 2007 the book was presented at the Art Basel Miami Beach. A selection of these photographs was shown at the Gallery Beyerle in Basel on the occasion of Art Basel 2008.

How was the idea born?

By attending the Art Fairs I discovered that I was looking at them as a kind of installation, stage work and theatre, a constantly changing interacting between even controversial elements, a very specific version of “Object trouvé”. So I decided to fix these discoveries working with my old conventional camera and zoom lens. (See also answer 2)

Can you tell us about the introduction of the book?

After publishing the book received several reviews and was positively acclaimed (Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, Neue Züricher, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Kunstzeitung … ) Photographs were included in essays dealing with art fairs in general (Monopol Berlin; Springerin Wien) and the current development of the art market against the backdrop of the financial crisis (Newsweek March 2009).

How was your book received by the contemporary art world ?

Many collectors and gallerists have bought the photographs from this series, art critics are offering to write about my work in the future when I will publish my next book about New Art Places. Probably one sign of interest in my work is that Neue Züricher Zeitung will publish a series of my photographs about previous editions of Art Basel in their special edition on occasion of the upcoming Art Basel in 2009.

Where can we find it?

The book can be found in all good book shops specialising in art publications or can be ordered from Hatje Cantz (see attached all information)

Do you consider that “art is alive”?

Yes – certainly yes. As alive as I am

To finish with, what would wish to this blog?

I wish for this blog that there will be many readers and lots of interesting questions and answers coming up. Good luck to all of us!

Thank you Gabriele