Helene Hellmich with – on – via – Eva Barto, Sophie Calle, Kevin Kemter, Manfred Pernice, Anna Oppermann, Jonas Mekas, Joëlle Tuerlinckx, and more
From all-time superstars to small and humble role-models, personal idols take many different forms, giving us something to be awed by and aspire to. For »Framework 3: meet your idol«, insitu has invited the German artist Helene Hellmich to reflect on those who have influenced her practice and to present her work alongside theirs.
Hellmich’s work often combines drawings, installation and architectural structures in an encyclopedic-like working practice which have resulted in the creation of a museum of clouds for »Museum: Part 2 (Clouds)« (2013) or a mind map of her thinking for »Maps of Thoughts« (2013). Recently, Hellmich has been dealing with issues of collecting and gathering ideas, archives, interviews, quotes and reproductions, in all sorts of forms, mostly driven by a frenetic energy.
The presentation at insitu is a coherent ensemble that includes the work of her so-called idols. The artists and art pieces are invited into a dialogue with Hellmich’s artistic practice as well as each other. Their display not only offers keys to understanding Hellmich’s practice, but Hellmich creates an intervention that interweaves the work of her idols with her own. She takes a self-reflexive approach – exhibiting drawings of what she imagined the exhibition to look like as well as photocopies of catalogues by artists she admires and responses to other artists works through reproductions or self-built and designed installations in which to display them.
The artists shown together with Hellmich have been selected from various sources. Some have been named by the artist as influential positions, other have been gathered by the insitu curatorial team amongst possible candidates listed by the artist, or simply proposed as additional options from the team’s understanding of Hellmich’s practice. Besides a selection of well-known artists, Hellmich decided to include also artists from her own generation, who are peers and colleagues who she admires.
Helene Hellmich decided to deviate from the given framework by erasing the hierarchical meaning implied within the questions of »What is an idol?« and »What kind of relationship do I have with my idol?«. First, by proposing a long list of fellow artists, she denies the status of an idol, often understood as exclusive and beyond reach. Then, the deliberate integration of the works of the guest artists (her supposed idols) into a global installation, clearly demonstrates that the relationships she maintains toward those artists is far from any kind of devotion.
With this exhibition, Helene Hellmich offers us the opportunity to observe how artists integrate others’ practices into their own. How specific encounters, physical or intellectual, through education or special occurrences, can have an impact on the development of an artistic career and on some essential decisions.
The insitu team and the artist would like to thank Manfred Pernice, Eva Barto, Kevin Kemter, the Galerie ARNDT representing Sophie Calle and the Galerie Barbara Thumm representing the estate of Anna Oppermann for the loan of the presented artworks.