Alexander Johannes Heil
artist / B.Sc. architecture

   

   

Work

In my work I explore natural and architectural spaces, observe natural and architectural phenomena, and find analogies between typologies of these natural and architectural entities. They inspire me to think poetically about the relations between these two spheres of our world, whereby one magically emerges and the other is constructed.
My work is not about 'The New'. As an artist of my time, I am aware that there are as many artists (and architects) as never before in history. It reflects in the sheer endless number of artist accounts and artworks on social media networks. It seems to me as if everything that can be done, has been done in one or the other way. Even though, this is not entirely true and the theme of 'the new' is a vastly discussed philosophical matter; what I want to say is, is that I think that in everything 'new' lies what is analog to something already in existence. This concerns as well human creative expression, which I believe is ultimately informed by the natures gestures formal expression.
Here it comes to my method, a phenomenological approach in which I never make categorizations of what is looked at. I always look at all buildings, pillars, spaces, vaults, caves, columns, mountains, stumps, trunks, hills, and heaps with the same attention and the same sincerity.



Il Momento Metafisico
Video
1 min. on loop
Italy, 2016



All these things arouse my interest in the same spontaneous, impulsive way. As I look at things with constant indifference, I do not give them any definitions and no truth about what they are. I just look; and in result I can concentrate on how they are - the things I look at. I stay with them in that moment of enduring the being. It is a kind of looking at things which maybe be described as a mixture of platonic excitement and a stoicism in the sense of an Democritus, without the amazement about seemingly extraordinary things. A kind of indifferent amazement about both; the ordinary as well as the extraordinary.
Going to the beach, documenting what I observe, and transforming it to poetically describe what I felt is how I go about.



Substanzraum
Spatial intervention
3000 l water
Den Haag, 2019

Documentation: Raphael Fischer Dieskau



My work puts the known and sometimes most ordinary into unusual relationships to create new contexts and look at things with a fresh eye. My working process undergoes phases of free experimentation, reflection, and eventually selection. At the beginning of a new project, I approach everything openly, joyful, and enthusiastic; everything is allowed; I produce a lot of material from all kinds of media. After spending some time in this creative cloud, I step back to look at what I have done and produced.
Now a more concentrated phase of reflection and selection begins. I decide what products matter to me, have a poetic quality, speak to my imagination, and manifest the concepts I developed during the cloud phase.
I collect all my written material and work it into a coherent text. As I would describe my working method conceptually as 'collaging', my writing can be described as such, too. It is an amalgam of observed phenomena, inspiring literature, and own thoughts touching and confronting multiple disciplines.
Eventually, the endeavor results in a curated body of work accompanied by a text of the scope of a short essay, a pamphlet, or a short story. Text and artworks belong together, whereas the text can be autonomous or integral to an artwork.


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Thrown In Various Random Directions

Installation with screens and speakers, sound piece composed of generated environmental sounds, field recordings and voice.
Narration: Mabel Calvert Verbruggen
45 min.
2020

Photography: Charlotte Brand


"A thunderstorm is approaching from afar, saturating the atmosphere with moisture, making it soft and wet. Clouds are hanging low and the sun is about to go. Light-waves arriving from million miles away diving into this massive liquid body, scattering, thrown in various random directions, embracing your world with deep purple."

Thrown In Various Random Directions is such an example where my writing merges with my art practice. It exists as a quadro-phonic, spatial, installation; an 45 min. audio piece; an essay; and as well  a geo located audio walk in the dunes of Westduinpark in The Hague, where I live and work.




Further reading and viewing material:


Substanzraum,
Essay and Selected Works
visit site
Metaphysics of Architecture,
Exhibition Catalogue with Essay
open/download (PDF)





Books which inspire me:

A Man Asleep, Georges Perec;
Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard;
Le Corbusier: The Architect on the Beach, Niklas Maak.


Artworks which stun me:

Crown Fountain, Jaume Plensa;
Umbrellas, Christo and Jeanne-Claude;
The Dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, Filippo Brunelleschi.


Other people about me and my work:

"Don’t try to pin Alexander down, because he won’t pin you down, either.
A dreamer, a traveler, a thinker, a seeker, Alexander tries to see behind the surface.
To study and describe what he feels is there.
This is the journey he will take you on; a journey as old as mankind."


Merel Boers, historian, linguist, and writer.


"Architects tend to talk and write more than  they build, because it takes an effort before you get the expensive  assignment. As an architect, Alexander can write, no doubt. But what he learned the past years, and that’s how he used his studies perfectly, is  how to listen. That fabulous fact made him change from seeing space as  something to use at will into an entity to listen to and react to. Alexander might have become something of an anti-architect — someone who  is not filling space with things, but embracing space to leave it, and  emphasize its existence as such. Alexander did not only initiate  wonderful events-in-space during his studies, but he also re-worked them in a portfolio that does not only clarify his ideas in a consistent way, but also functions as a manifest towards how we could experience space as such."

Taconis Stolk, Head of Department ArtScience Interfaculty.