Black / White
A delicate creature of ephemeral beauty, the butterfly has always had a special place in art history. Painters such as 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 richly coloured insects as if they were under a magnifying glass. We immediately appreciate the rare quality of these moments, preserved for eternity. Black and White focus on the ambivalent relationship between beauty and the finality of life – an apparent contradiction that lends Hellwig’s works a distinct melancholy.
Hellwig’s new works can be seen as a natural progression of his oeuvre. The use of clear lines on a monochrome background is characteristic of his style and reflects his preference for minimalist, precise aesthetics. After growing up in the United States, the artist learned his trade in a number of major photography studios throughout Germany. In 1991 he founded his first photo studio, and in 2005, together with artist Juliane Spitta, he opened “Galerie Zukunftslabor” in Stuttgart.
About the Work
What child hasn’t fantasized about winning a famous race with a classic pedal car? This dream is just as alive today as it was 70 years ago, and not just in the nursery! Heiko Hellwig has uncovered true gems from the last century and presented them with stunning simplicity. The beauty of these remarkable models is laid bare before a black background.
The restrained backdrop that Hellwig uses allows him to inspire fantasies and awaken long-forgotten memories. Even those who have never been the proud owner of such a fine vehicle cannot resist the nostalgic charm of the pedal car in these graceful images.
About the Artist
Although Heiko Hellwig was born in Wuppertal, Germany in 1960, he was living in the United States with his parents when he first expressed an interest in photography at the age of eight. He wanted a camera to share what he saw with the world. The family remained in the U.S.A. until the mid-1970s, when they moved back to Germany. Photography has shaped Hellwig’s life since that young age, and he learned his trade working with different photographers and a number of large photo studios.
After spending four years broadening his knowledge, Hellwig opened his own studio in 1991. His conceptual and freelance work has drawn widespread recognition in the art world. In 2005, Hellwig opened the gallery, Zukunftslabor, along with artist Juliane Spitta. He now lives in Stuttgart.
Heiko Hellwig deliberately chose to shoot “Pedal Cars” in the studio. He designed a black room in which nothing could draw attention away from the cars. Using artistic lighting, he perfectly portrays the form and, above all, distinctive character of the different models. The richness of detail is as fascinating as the clarity of colour.
“The future is green, or else there won’t be one.” Heiko Hellwig
|1960||Born in Wuppertal, Germany|
|Lives and works in Stuttgart, Germany|
|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|