New show by Swiss artist Heikedine Guenther is a captivating tribute to Rudolf Steiner and Hilma af Klint


This week during Art Basel, those interested in an unusual artistic experience could venture to the nearby town of Dornach where the personal exhibition of Swiss artist Heikedine Günther “Concentric circlesIs presented at the famous Goetheanum, the world headquarters of the Anthroposophical Society. The Goetheanum, designed by Rudolph Steiner and built between 1924 and 1928, is a striking edifice, encased between medieval castles enthroned on a hill (and named after Steiner’s mentor Johann Wolfgang von Goethe).

The building’s signature concrete expressionist architecture finds a remarkable harmony with the organic and ovoid forms that fill Guenther’s paintings. The expansive exhibition includes more than 70 works and takes up much of the sprawling building. The space was designed to create a space where holistic thinking and natural philosophy coexist and has often fostered creative thinking. Hilma af Klint, who was a follower of Steiner’s philosophies and considered him a mentor, visited the Goetheanum several times during his lifetime to take notes on Steiner’s aesthetic, staying there and working there for some time in the 1920s.

One can find parallels in Guenther’s work with that of af Klint; its radiant concentric shapes and luminous hue offer a unique narrative of his own artistic journey and the value of creativity as a source of inner power that can facilitate a dialogue between art, architecture and nature.

Recently, we met the artist before the opening to talk about anthropology, serendipity and the meaning of life.

Installation view of Core n ° 495, Core n ° 496, and Core n ° 497 in “Heikedine Guenther: Concentric Circles” at Goetheanum, 2021. Courtesy of the artist.

You are very involved in the field of anthropology. Why is that?
I am not a pure anthropologist, I am just deeply interested in life and its meaning. This fascination has grown over the past year following the pandemic. I think when you’re interested in that, then an anthropological investigation is essential.

I really believe in chance or chance. Especially with the idea that these things that happen to you in life are meant to be. I don’t fight it, I work with it, which is very anthropological thinking.

Your next exhibition at Art Basel reflects this philosophy. What are you trying to convey with your work?
Yes, especially since the pandemic. It had such a profound impact on all of our lives that it made me look even more than before at the origins of anthropology.

Space is an important aspect of how your work will be shown. Tell me about the exhibition space.

It was created by Rudolf Steiner, founder of anthropological thought. It is the antithesis of a “white cube” or a regular exhibition space, which I am very happy about. My work will be exhibited in this space which is not a museum. Rather, it is the International Center for Anthropology. My exhibition is perhaps the first which will prove a real synergy to the structure. It will really vibrate and move with my subject: making the invisible visible, the contrast between good and evil, light and dark, life and death.

Hilma Af Klint is an artist who could be described as a soul mate. How do your works compare or contrast?

Hilma drew the visions she had. On the other hand, I create works derived from my emotions and my reactions to certain situations and vibrations. I believe his work is more spiritual, with a strong emphasis on his visions. I started with that vibe, but then moved on to a more abstract aesthetic. Before creating my work, there is a lot of research and thinking. It’s more psychological than spiritual.

Installation view "Heikedine Guenther: concentric circles" at Goetheanum, 2021. Courtesy of the artist.

View of the installation “Heikedine Guenther: Concentric Circles” at the Goetheanum, 2021. Courtesy of the artist.

Many artists are currently commenting on socio-political issues. Is this something that you aspire to or are already communicating with in your work?

No, not really to be honest. At least not yet. Although I think it is very important for artists to discuss current themes in their work. To reflect the spirit of the times. We all see things in different ways and with different eyes. It is important to remember this, be aware of it and accept the differences.

What would your heritage be?
This is a very important question. I would like to give future generations the feeling and the idea that everything is connected. It’s also about giving viewers the opportunity to discover things about themselves when they connect to my work. I truly believe that we all have different strengths and potentials, and I hope viewers can find out through my work.

What else do you have planned for the near future?
I have several exciting projects that I cannot reveal at the moment. But I am now driven by different motivations. Growth and evolution in different dimensions is always a concern and this is important to me for the future. I don’t want to please everyone. I want to make an impact and create work that is also important for my personal development.

If you could have dinner with three artists, living or dead, who would you choose?
Sean Scully, Mark Rothko, Hilma af Klint.

Heikedine Günther: concentric circles»Is visible until September 30, 2021.

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