Thilo Heinzmann


When Joseph Beuys crashed his plane his entire organic body was allegedly kept warm through felt and fat. Imagine recreating the scene without Beuys and giving the same tender care to the metal remains of his airplane and, even more, to take the uttermost care to arrange dents, scabs, cuts and bullet holes on these fragments and cover these wounds with warming skin.

On a computer screen we see pictures of humans – essentially flesh and bones held together by a layer of skin – every day. Looking at them closely, our screen can provide us with a smooth metallic exterior as well as a slightly fatty, textureless glass surface, however it cannot give us the sensation of seeing or touching real skin; for that, we have to look down at our own hands. Thilo Heinzmann’s new pictures are sharp, anorganic forms partially covered in soft, organic matter – textured layers of pores and veins.

After postmodernism, the lines between author and narrator have become increasingly blurred and paintings have become fragmented representations of their creators, taking space in the digital cloud, where they coalesce with photos of the artists themselves and material goods. In Heinzmann’s pictures we watch the machines take off their human masks and reveal their metallurgic origins as well as their own vulnerability underneath. We witness a cinematic moment where the machinic parts emancipate themselves from human representation and shed their skins – one of them even holding up his flayed green skin like Saint Bartholomew in Michelangelo’s Last Judgement.

There is a German idiom for “flipping out” that literally translates into “driving out of your skin”. Heinzmann’s pictures, and especially his latest pigment paintings, have a lot to do with speed, they emulate the movement of particles. In close conjunction with them, his new series of Aicmos seem like objects that were driven at an extreme high speed and on their trajectory catching other objects, bending, splintering and losing parts of their outer layer. If the pigment paintings provide the bird’s eye view, the Aicmos are their life-size component parts.