Heidi Hahn:

If Pyramids Were Castles I’d Build you a Home

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London Collective on Vortic Collect

26 June –

10 July 2020

The exhibition is also available to view via the App Store on Vortic Collect

This was a solo presentation by Heidi Hahn, exhibited together for the first time, as part of London Collective on Vortic Collect. London Collective brings together 40 of the UK’s best commercial galleries to present exhibitions and artists’ projects on Vortic Collect, the new extended reality app for the art world. The Collective of art dealers and gallerists have come together in recognition that this is a defining moment of change in how art is accessed, particularly in response to the travel restrictions which mean many people are unable to visit exhibitions in person. As part of the Collective, galleries are able to support one another by encouraging equal viewer opportunities and the sharing of audiences via Vortic Collect. This is the first opportunity in finding ways to work more closely in the future and was born out of a Whatsapp group for London galleries, created at the beginning of the pandemic as a way to share intel and ideas which all galleries could benefit from.


The works on paper Untitled, (But Loved) 1 – 7, 2015 – 2019 are part of a body of work by the American painter Heidi Hahn, which was started on Fischers Island, off the coast of Connecticut at the residency Lighthouse Works in 2015, continued during the summer of 2019 at MacDowell, a residency in New Hampshire, USA and recently completed in her studio in Brooklyn, New York. The artist’s titles are usually an umbrella to a whole series of works, by giving them the same title and numbering the works, she is suggesting that the title is arbitrary to the experience of the work itself.  The figures are set loosely against rendered backgrounds that hint at a site within what is largely an abstract surface. This ambiguity is intentional and evidences the artist’s refusal of specificity, confusion of temporalities, bodies and interior/exterior spaces. The women pictured suggest symbolic figures and seem to be in fleeting mental states. Awash with pattern and dynamic treatment of colour to reflect this, Hahn made subtle changes to the works over time, the story is embedded individually in each one, but they all come together as an animation of sorts. Like numerous people recounting a story and adding the details that make it unique to their version, each work captures the suggestion or residue of feeling preserved over time.

Heihi Hahn’s sumptuously atmospheric and layered use of paint, in conversation with art historical traditions, draws the viewer into a psychological space that evokes our attachment to the female form and how it is processed through traditional and contemporary readings of the male gaze. Her female figures appear at once distant from the viewer, free from the gaze, absorbed in their banality of inaction, and at the same time relatable and accessible. Gestural, fluid, and spectral, Heidi Hahn’s works reframe and re-contextualise her subjects, exploring the ambiguous and shifting boundaries between public and private spheres.


Installation Views