Local Bubble

Karin Guenther is pleased to announce Alexander Heim’s third solo show with the Gallery exhibiting a new series of works titled ‘Local Bubbles’ (2015).

For this series Heim deposits large lumps of silicone sealant behind industrial sheets of polished glass. The lumps of silicone are squashed and expand towards the glass’ edges in the process. Bonding to the glass, the silicone also acts as a carrier; the glass is seemingly floating in space, as if merely stuck to the wall by the lumps of glue. Some of the glass sheets have an additional layer on the front: Patterns and shapes are etched into the glass using acid, frosting the otherwise polished surface and thus giving the piece texture and stressing its three-dimensional aspect.

Mixed with the ‘Local Bubbles’ are two more relief sculptures from a previous series called ‘Knight Without Title (Fired)’ (2013-16), which Heim re-worked for this exhibition. The previously wooden panels were burnt to charcoal with a blowtorch, rendering them pitch black, much like the black lumps of silicone behind the glass. Rather than painting the wood black, the material is actually transformed to a state in which it has become black. The overall outline of each ‘Knight’ is derived from a kind of jig saw puzzle: Three panels are cut into two pieces each by following a curved line, creating in a positive and a negative shape. The resulting six shapes are then arranged to a composition, which forms the ‘Knights’ character. ‘Knight Without Title (Fired)’ refers to two scrupulous british bankers, who, in the wake of the recent financial crisis, had their ‘Sir’ titles stripped by her majesty the queen.

Heim is interested in the process of a body’s expansion into space. In the case of the ‘Local Bubbles’, pressure applied to the glass, forces the silicone to expand into the available space between glass and wall. The outline of the resulting shape can be planned, but not controlled. An element of chance is invited into the equation, something Heim has often been drawn to in his approach. Early works by Heim include ready-made found objects, and the notion of ‘finding a shape’, if not on the street, but nowadays in the studio, has prevailed as a fundamental part of his practice.

‘Heim’s work cuts loose traditional hierarchical bonds, which unite art objects with those of mass cultural decent in an authoritarian relationship. Art here starts outside its own realm, more precisely even outside that of what is traditionally named as culture. Heim expands the concept of culture fundamentally, in starting from an actualised understanding of its other – nature.’ Kerstin Stakemeier (2011)

As previously observed by Stakemeier in the context of another exhibition, so draws the series ‘Local Bubbles’ inspiration from ideas associated with natural sciences. The title ‘Local Bubble’ refers to a term used in astronomy, which describes the larger context, in which our solar system is thought to be located within the universe.