February 2024

Box Bound

Seamus HeidenreichSeamus HeidenreichSeamus HeidenreichSeamus HeidenreichText: Millie Stein Images: Seamus Heidenreich

Berlin is not a place where people bother much with limits. Spend 48 hours at Berghain. Eat a month’s worth of currywurst in one sitting. I promise, no one will even blink. Besides, they ride their bikes so super fast they hardly have time to pay attention.

Seamus Heidenreich has had a slightly different experience. He left Sydney in the middle of last year to undertake a residency in Germany’s capital. This led to three months living within the four small walls of his Berlin studio. As if that wasn’t reductive enough, he undertook a new series of paintings using mostly primary colours.

“I was thinking about home,” says Heidenreich. “I was in a new city and very isolated and confined to my studio space, which was really tiny. I was missing the ocean and nature and the familiarities of a known place.”

The results of his exercise in restraint make up Box Bound, a solo exhibition at Berlin’s Mother Drucker gallery. Some familiar characters appear in the work, but the overall feeling is more focused and visually cohesive than ever.

As his artist statement says, “Heidenreich was not hemmed in by his resources, or by the parameters that were set for him. He was liberated by them. Within his box, Heidenreich could now contextualise his interactions with the world surrounding him.”

It’s the asymmetries in Heidenreich’s images that invite examination. Structures are invented so that they can be skewed; the action takes place in the centre to make you question the meaning of left and right. It’s hard to believe that the little men in these works didn’t exist before, so palpable is their sense of purpose and dedication to climbing each other’s shoulders in a never-ending attempt at movement.

What was that famouse quote again? It seems to apply here. Oh yeah: “Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them”.

Box Bound runs until February 21 at Mother Drucker gallery.

Seamus Heidenreich Next story: Cut And Paste – Chris Day