in tricks that draw viewers into his buoyant world. It is there—amidst spinning
mirrors, mischievous peepholes, and fountains with minds of their own—where the
Danish artist suggests that active interaction (whether it be with others, or
with ourselves) is not only fun, but fundamental.
,” now at Galleri Nicolai Wallner
siphons his passion for social sculpture (his work has been referred to as a
) into an
ethereal grouping of works that center on the concept of silence as a conduit
for contemplation. Here, mirrored surfaces, diffused scents, and
all-encompassing paintings create a space for reflection.
In Breathing Watercolours (2014), Hein imitates rhythmic
inhalation and exhalation in long strokes of blue on skeins of white paper. The
10 sheets are pieced together on a freestanding, circular armature that recalls
shrines, blanket forts, gaps behind waterfalls, and other small, comforting
spaces. The narrow opening that allows viewers to enter also encourages them to
stay—perhaps to be affected by the cascading scrim of strokes.
Smells like … Stillhet (2014) plays with the conceptual
connection between linguistics and sensory experience by mixing, emitting, and
suggesting a definition for the smell of silence. Viewers might agree or
disagree with Hein’s fragrant interpretation, and this range of responses, of
course, is his intention. What does silence—amidst our constant din of cell
phone cheeps—mean (or smell like) to each of us?
The three mirrored works in the show most directly implicate the
passerby, commingling passing reflections with phrases and forms that connect
exterior and interior selves. In a time when selfie-celebs reign over the
social media realm, Hein adorns our heads and bodies with the words “stillhet”
and “I don’t expect anything but I’m open to Everything,” suggesting that there
is more to a person—and perhaps their effect on the world—than their portrait. Third
Eye (2014), the most playful work in the show, tops viewers’ heads with a
glowing flame that insinuates sight beyond the visible world—into minds, auras,
and other introspective spaces that just might be starved for interaction.