Alexander Johannes Heil

Drilling Into A Mountain,
vis à vis with
Robbert Pauwels

I am standing in front of an artwork by Robbert Pauwels at his solo exhibition, From Billy to the Hills, at Billytown. It depicts a series of water drops resembling some ancient architectural shape with Roman arcs above a doorway and two windows situated above. The so-formed architectural face blows wind from its mouth.

It was that moment when I asked Robbert Pauwels to do a Vis à Vis at my Home Gallery.

I felt reminded of an old idea I got when I visited the Grotta Delle Streghe (the cave of witches) in Valstrona in Northern Italy.

I was deep in the cave, which was so narrow that you had to crawl and crouch most of the time. Inside a small chamber where you could sit upright, the tour guide asked me to switch off the light.

He explained: “There is no light reaching this place.”

We are sitting in complete darkness. After a while, I noticed water dripping from various directions. And although the physical space made of marble stone was tiny, my spatial experience shifted.

The space enlarged, and before my inner eye, a vast and virtual spatial entity emerged where water drops, like columns, defined its dimensions.

Drilling Into A Mountain is an exhibition where Robbert Pauwel’s and Alexander Johannes Heil’s worlds engage in a dialogue. Just by putting them next to each other, new narratives emerge, which both works, on their own, were not able to inspire.

What is a drill? Is it masculine? Is it a phallus – a purely male object?

And what about the revolving movement of water, carving its way through a mountain – leaving behind a somewhat drill-shaped cave?

Maybe the male-associated violence of drilling into something is rather time-based. Isn’t the soft natural element of life, associated with the feminine, doing the same just over a more extended period of time?

These are the questions we are looking forward to freely associate with you in our upcoming exhibition, Drilling Into A Mountain, vis à vis with Robbert Pauwels.

Saturday 23.09.2023
from 4pm – 8pm

23.09.2023 – 08.10.2023

Finissage (To Be Announced STAY TUNED)

Wall Drawings: Robbert Pauwels
Installation: Alexander Johannes Heil

Documentation: Alexander Johannes Heil