Jeppe Hein’s works are fun. One of his installations is a labyrinth made from mirrors that confuse the viewer’s visual and spatial perception, transforming the surrounding scenery through mirrored reflections while at the same time melting into it as the reflections provide camouflage. Another work is made from variously shaped benches that resemble playground equipment, some slanted, others twisted. Yet another presents the mysterious spectacle of a flame crowning a jet of water. In another water sculpture, water columns form labyrinths. When people enter, the walls of water sense their movements and react by rising and falling, luring them from one room to another and trapping them within the fountain.
Using a humorous perspective as his first point of contact, Hein’s works naturally draw the viewer in, creating opportunities for communication. Although the materials he uses and the forms he creates are simple and minimal, they stimulate the visual and bodily senses that we use to interpret the world around us. This stimulation of our basis for cognizance provides both a playfulness that that leads to spontaneous interaction with the viewer and a depth that leads to profound experiences. The works of Jeppe Hein may exist as physical objects in themselves, but they are also abstractions of the perceptions and physical and psychological experiences generated when viewers encounter them, as well as venues and opportunities for meaningful dialogues with the work and the space it is placed in.
This social nature, allowing and encouraging the viewer to interact, is a characteristic of Hein’s art. In addition to exhibits presented at art museums and international exhibitions, he has created many large public installations. A huge project combining a solo exhibition at Denmark’s ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum with public art throughout the city planned for 2009 is already garnering much attention. Jeppe Hein has also opened an art bar in Copenhagen called Karriere, incorporating commissioned work from numerous artists to create a new space for expression and for thinking about communication.
As an artist, Hein is fascinated by how communication between his work and the viewer plays out in different ways under the influence of cultural differences. Naming his second solo exhibition at SCAI “Kuru Kuru” (Japanese for “round and round”), he has chosen to exhibit circular and spherical works as a basis for approaching Japanese culture, in which the circle can symbolize enlightenment or truth.
By interacting with these works made of neon lights, mirrors, stainless steel, and other materials, viewers of the exhibition will find their perceptual and cognitive logic shaken from various perspectives and enjoy a wide variety of experiences, from refreshing surprise to a sense of frustration or confusion. While exposing the object-observer relationship between his works and the viewer, this exhibition also presents the viewer with an opportunity to consider the uncertainty of that relationship. We hope that the exhibition will allow many people to experience and interact with Jeppe Hein’s art, and to enjoy it on many levels.