Black / White
A delicate creature of ephemeral beauty, the butterfly has always played a special role in art history. Painters like Vincent Van Gogh and Salvador Dali frequently made the butterfly the subject of their work, and it has also gained traction in the contemporary art scene – not least through Damien Hirst’s Butterfly Colour Paintings.
In his two latest series, Black and White, Heiko Hellwig also celebrates the beauty and uniqueness of these colourful insects. Set before a black or white background, his incredibly detailed pieces let us admire the individual characteristics of each butterfly. From the shimmering metallic scales to the glossy compound eyes and fragile feelers, Hellwig presents the vivid insects as if though under a magnifying glass.
We immediately appreciate the rare quality of the images Hellwig preserves for all eternity. The works focus on the ambivalent relationship between beauty and finality of life – an apparent contradiction that lends Hellwig’s works a distinct melancholy.
Hellwig’s Koi series can be seen as a logical progression of his oeuvre. We can make out the finest scales forming patterns on the fish like finely composed patterns. The clear contours and monochrome background are characteristic of Hellwig’s minimalistic and precise aesthetic.
In his new series, Blossom, Hellwig reveals the beauty of flowers. “I am consciously focusing on a single perfect flower instead of a colorful, overflowing bouquet,” the artist says. Hellwig delves deep into these individual flowers, examining their gently curving petals. Hellwig views his work as the modern extension of the classic still life, with a meditative focus on the essence.
Heiko Hellwig has expanded his existing repertoire with two cut-out butterflies, making nature’s splendor accessible in a new way. These butterflies are elegantly mounted under acrylic glass, a perfect way to accent their delicate and colorful beauty. They are typical Hellwig artworks, and yet they are different; an impressive combination of natural beauty and an innovative art concept.
Heiko Hellwig was born in 1960 in Wuppertal, Germany. He spent his youth in the USA and learned his trade at various photo studios throughout Germany. By 1991, he had already opened his first photo studio. In 2005, he and artist Juliane Spitta co-founded the gallery Zukunftslabor in Stuttgart, Germany, where he currently lives and works.
|2010||Heiko Hellwig, Galerie Zukunftslabor, Stuttgart, Germany|
|2014||Changing Realities, The underground station at Alexanderplatz, Berlin, Germany|
|Gegenlicht 21, Theaterhaus Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany|
|2012||Kunst in der Region, Kunstverein Kirchheim, Kirchheim, Germany|