New books in the CAG library: Jeppe Hein, book review by Dan Potter


Before me lay five books, all of which are new additions to the CAG’s Abraham Rogatnick Resource library collection of art exhibition catalogues.  All 5 books contain images of artwork and relevant writing pertaining to Danish artist Jeppe Hein.  These colourful and uniquely bound catalogues were acquired by generous gift of the artist himself and his galleries. They were sent through the mail system, twisting and turning, before finding there way to a stationary position, which is great for properly absorbing all the interesting knowledge made available within them.

All five of these books are presented as bi- lingual, with the anglo- saxon language of english appearing in translation.  The first one I happened to pick up, titled ‘Jeppe Hein: Take a Walk in the Forest at Sunlight’ has a picture on the front cover of what looks like a convex mirror with the reflection of some gallery- goers peering into it, with the surreal emptiness of the exhibition space in the background.  As I find out by opening up the book this reflecting object is Hein’s  ‘The Big Mirror Ball’ which rolls around the space of the gallery, to the presence of visitors.  Conceptually the publishers Kunstverein Heilbronn, try to relate subject matter pertaining to globalization and capitalism run wild with Jeppe Hein’s formative years as an artist.

The second book judging from the cover (which you’re not supposed to do) looks the most interesting because it is bound with a reflective surface that you might find on satellites being sent up into earth’s orbit.  This book which is the biggest of the five is titled ‘Jeppe Hein: Sense City’ and it contains a wide variety of his work, detailing pieces created as far back as 1997 and as recent as 2009. This one turns out to be a very interesting catalogue because not only does it give me a really good overview of Hein’s work by introducing me to works like ‘Modified Social Bench #8’ ,2005 or ‘Appearing Rooms’, 2004 but it also presents some intriguing correspondence with artist Dan Graham.

Two more of the books are smaller, hand-held type catalogues that are probably great for art exhibition travelers who prefer suitcase friendly souvenirs from their trips abroad.  Both of these books titled ‘Objects in the Mirror are Closer than they Appear’ and ‘Jeppe Hein in the Espace 315, Centre Pompidou, Paris’ are exhibition catalogues that stay true to their respected exhibits of the same name.  Jeppe Hein’s exhibition ‘Objects in the Mirror are Closer than they Appear’ is depicted as a show centered around the themes of reflection, as a variety of shapes and forms are used as mirrors to distort the normal surroundings and help question the relationship between the creator, the artwork and the observer.  The exhibition held in the  Centre Pompidou is basically about the concept as well as the form of a Labyrinth, where Jeppe Hein made tests for his ‘Invisible Labyrinth project’.

The fifth and final book I had the pleasure of reading was ‘Jeppe Hein: Until Now’ which features plenty of images of his work proceeded by several essays that relate to the artwork that is depicted.  This is another great book to read if you are interested in getting to know Hein’s diverse use of shapes, forms, techniques and concepts that can only be described as inclusive to his audience’s continuously variable environment outside the gallery space.  Just the names of some of his art pieces are enough to make you very intrigued, names like; ‘Moving Neon Cube’, ‘Interactive White Sphere’, ‘Continuity Reflecting Space’, ‘Sving’  and ‘Smoking Bench’.

Of course this is a severely brief overview of five very complex pieces of art literature, all by the artist Jeppe Hein.  You will find the Abraham Rogatnick  library, that is located upstairs in the CAG, full of books and exhibit catalogues dedicated to many artists from gallery exhibitions held all around the globe.  The CAG is a unique art facility, one that is dedicated to not only the exhibition of artwork but also to the research and education that surrounds the complex subject of Contemporary Art.  So if you are interested in expanding your knowledge around a certain artist or art gallery, schedule an appointment to use the vast amount of information available just upstairs from the exhibition space.

– Dan Potter

The Abraham Rogatnick  Library, CAG
Photo: Aquiles Ascencion

Please call 604 681 2700 and ask for Jill Henderson if you would like to book an appointment to use the Abraham Rogatnick Resource Library, or email info@contemporaryartgallery.ca.

Jeppe Hein exhibited at the CAG in Jan 2009 with the exhibition ‘Please Please Please’. www.contemporaryartgallery.ca/exhibitions

Dan Potter is a volunteer with the CAG.

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Filed under Education, Exhibitions

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