Mehdi Chouakri

Isabell Heimerdinger

25 Jun - 30 Jul 2011

© Isabell Heimerdinger
Light through persimmon tree, 2011
5 stained plywood panels, wire
each panel: 180 x 80 cm
The New World Joy Garden
25 June – 30 July, 2011

Trees surround a lawn within a large garden in the Pankow district of Berlin. A few pieces of garden furniture stand around, a girl and her younger brother are playing under a pergola from the 1970‘s.
Their mother steps out of the house carrying a tray with freshly brewed green tea and some cake.
The father has just taken off to New York and is watching us through the airplane window. Isabell Heimerdinger puts down the tray on the garden table; the sun is shining. We are drinking tea and eating cake. The scene described here could easily be a plot from one of Heimerdinger‘s short films, but it is also a totally mundane event on an ordinary summer afternoon. We talk about her new works, her participation in group exhibitions, and mainly about her impressions gained from her trip to China.
She has recently finished her film Good Friends in Beijing with a Chinese film crew and cast. The famous Chinese restaurant on Berlin‘s Kantstraße served as the inspiration for the title of the film. A lively Chinese tavern is the setting of a scene that could be part of a classic detective story - two strangers swap their seats and carry out the handover of a black leather briefcase. Heimerdinger shot the film from five different camera angles in order to fully capture the atmosphere of the restaurant.
Contemporary Chinese culture, despite its modernity, breathes old traditions and harbors many inspiring moments for the artist. She is also very interested in the cinema from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. These pop cultural influences manifest themselves in her newest works, which are being presented in our show.
A paravent rests by the entrance of the exhibition. In this piece Heimerdinger incorporates various components of her works. She turns “cuculoris “, objects used to cast light effects in film into a room divider. Paravents originate from China and Japan and are still commonly prevalent today.
The film Good Friends is shown from different camera angles on five iPads that are placed on
identical pedestals. Each screen is being supported by an object from everyday Chinese culture, like an ash tray in the form of the Olympia stadium by Herzog & De Meuron, a Mao ceramics statue, a Buddha figure...
Two neon pieces which spell out the deconstructed Chinese characters for Performance and Reality are displayed in the back room. Both terms form a central role in Isabell Heimderdinger‘s art. The fine line between reality and fiction is a frequent theme of her films, expressed by the use of “standard“ film scenes.
Furthermore, another work consists of the famous scent Opium by Yves Saint Laurent and is filling the room through an air humidifier. The designer had started a lasting Asia craze in 1977 with his collection, which had been inspired by the formal language of traditional Chinese fashion and with the creation of this oriental scent with its controversial name.

– Mehdi Chouakri, Berlin 2O11

Tags: Isabell Heimerdinger, Herzog & De Meuron