Jeppe Hein is a multidisciplinary artist currently based in Berlin. He has exhibited internationally at notable galleries such as the Tate Modern in London, MoMA PS1 in New York City, and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, Japan.
A confession: I am very tired of the “is it art?” joke sometimes overheard at galleries and museums. My favourite artworks also happen to be those that often provoke this response–the interactive, performative or otherwise experiential variety that straddle the line between ‘art’ and strange object.
Fittingly, this is why I love Jeppe Hein’s work: it does not provide the time or space to ask that nagging question, nor does it attempt to answer it. Through his sculpture and installation, whether displayed in a gallery or public space, Hein creates small moments of perfect awareness and rapture.
His interactive pieces, such as 360° Presence and Burning Cube, respond to human presence, often catching us off-guard with their seemingly impossible mechanics. Others, such as the Social Benches series, are simple meditations on interactivity and physical engagement.
In a necessary balance to its performative depth, Hein’s work is aesthetically simple. Stripped of complicated colour and texture, the viewer is confronted by the piece’s sudden autonomy. A vibrating mirror, a sentient wrecking ball, a white cube that burns from one corner but never seems to char–Hein’s work appears to only half-abide by the laws of physics. It is frustratingly anomalous, beautiful and otherworldly, and confoundingly present all at once. So, yes, it’s art–but also so much more.
– Kate Zavitz Hicke