Helmut Heiss

  • Feature:
      Saturday June 9th intervention @ 7pm SHARP
  • Project:
      8/8/8 Eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours for ourselves*
  • Source:
      Austria
  • Link/s:

Helmut Heiss in Bolzano (I), lives and works in Vienna. 2002 Diploma in painting at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna. 2008 Diploma in performance and sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna with Monica Bonvicini. On 9 June 2012 from 6 to 7 pm Helmut Heiss will have a prop airplane circle over the exact Haymarket massacre grounds with a bannerfly saying May, 1. 1886. The artist creates an elusive and collective moment of perception. A moment that steers the narration to a historic and socio-political incident. At the same time it produces a moment of presence and opens and constitutes thought-space. By this Helmut Heiss also originates meaning-space that can be perceived ephemerically, really and physically. This picture will persist in the beholder’s head. It’s not about creating a defined and permanent reminder, but the beginning of a narration that can be continued and devised individually.

Project
Helmut Heiss’ work 8 / 8 / 8 produces a temporary performative space and invites his counterpart to look back more than 120 years to remember the day when the workers’ fight for their fundamental rights was indicted.

The public spaces in a city are witnesses of social developments. A lot of political processes and decisions can be seen and read stamped into these spaces. Numerous traces and stories are concealed in the streets and squares of a city. Historical incidences are indicated mostly little and only in fragments and thus the extent of the influence on our society and the course of events are hard to be detected.

“Nothing reminds you of the Haymarket-drama in Chicago in 1886 with its incalculable consequences. There’s not even the smallest of a memorial stone to remember the events and the men that were commemorated and adored as martyrs of the workers’ movement even decades after. Nothing shows you that here 1 May was eked out as a workers’ holiday being celebrated almost all over the world, except in The United States.“ **

On 9 June 2012 from 6 to 7 pm Helmut Heiss will have a prop airplane circle over the exact Haymarket massacre grounds with a bannerfly saying May, 1. 1886. The artist creates an elusive and collective moment of perception. A moment that steers the narration to a historic and socio-political incident. At the same time it produces a moment of presence and opens and constitutes thought-space. By this Helmut Heiss also originates meaning-space that can be perceived ephemerically, really and physically. This picture will persist in the beholder’s head. It’s not about creating a defined and permanent reminder, but the beginning of a narration that can be continued and devised individually.

There are no truthful pictures and illustrations that describe the mass strikes and demonstrations around May, 1. 1886 at Haymarket. The existing illustrations are subjective pictures influenced by the immediate investigation after the massacre in order not to convict the ones that should have been accused. The widest-spread illustration of the Haymarket affair shows the later death-sentenced anarchist Samuel Fielden who was said to have held a speech during the bomb explosion. But as a a matter of fact riots and Fielden’s speech took place before the bombing. The public space at Haymarket in Chicago on 9 May 2012 will reproduce a picture and a memory of a historic event of fundamental and international consequences. The venues stay the same, but the moment of telling is 120 years time shift. The place is marked again as a political spot and the results of 1 May 1886 are negotiated newly.

I’ve only come across the following sentence lately: to bring up an issue means not to forget about it or to commemorate the people and the memories. Helmut Heiss’ work wants to create room and thought-space for history and hidden traces in our imminent urban environment.

*Already in 1856 workers in Melbourne demanded the „three eight“. In the following years the fight for the eight hours in The United States continued to the day when this postulation spread internationally: The day that has called attention to the workers’ rights ever since.
**Marco D’Eramo from “Das Schwein und der Wolkenkratzer”, (1996, Antje Kunstmann)

text: Angelika Burtscher

2012
RAPID PULSE FESTIVAL, Chicago /// Residency CHICAGO, BMUKK /// HOTEL ANANAS, gallery 5020, Salzburg (A)

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2011
Jederland, ARTISSIMA LIDO, Torino (I) /// DEUXPIECE, (with Nora Rekade) Basel, (CH) /// AQUARELLHAPPENING, Hintertux, Tirol (A) /// Appeal to Probability, Het Wilde Weten, Rotterdam (NL) /// SYMBOLISCHE AKTIONEN FÜR UNSERE GEGENWART / AZIONI SIMBOLICHE PER IL NOSTRO PRESENTE, gallery Lungomare Bozen, (I) /// double feature, Museum Théo Kerg, Mannheim (D)

2010
UNDER COVER, Lysekil, (S) /// COMMON SENSE, Eppan, (I) /// Residency HOTEL CHARLEROI, (B) /// IT LOOKS LIKE A BUILDING BUT IT IS ALIVE, Bäckerstrasse 4, Vienna (A) /// I LIKE THE WEATHER AND THE WEATHER W(H)ETHER LIKES ME… (with Nora Rekade, text: Robert Müller) Interventionsraum, Stuttgart (D) /// UNERWARTETE WENDUNGEN, Kunstpavillon Innsbruck & Rotor Graz (A) /// BURNING HOUSE, Mackey Apartments, L.A. (USA)

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