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„Everyday Problems: The Shunga Series“ is a new series of mostly small format woodcuts, that I started in March 2017. It is very different compared to my main body of work in regards to theme/background and visualization, but not in aesthetics, technique or style. It is a side-project, and to better understand why I use pornographic images in context with written (carved) descriptions of everyday problems, please continue reading here.
The first six works premiere at the Galerie Wolfsen in Aalborg in the group exhibition URBAN EYE, opening April 22nd (until May 13). I will be showing alongside an amazing line up of artists: El Mac, DOPPELDENK, STRØK, Claus Frederikson, Rune Christensen and ECK (Konrad Beikirch). I will be in attendance at the opening in Aalborg (Saturday April 22, 11 am – 2 pm).
„Brothers In Arms“ is a sculptural, multi-layered woodcut, painted and brushed/sponged with acrylic paint. One layer is additionally covered in transparent resin. It was produced in Hamburg in my studio between February 27and March 6, 2017.
„Brothers In Arms“ is another work in my most recent series, creating a dialogue between nature and urbanity in todays society.
Like „Welcome To Bear Mountain“ and „The World Is Yours Baby“, this piece is a dioramic wall-sculpture, but a rather small version in comparison. It is probably the smallest I can go with my technique of blending woodcut with carpentery, cut outs and painting.
The work is composed like a theatre stage - with plenty elements of drama. For a little bit more background you can read more here, it is pretty much based on a similar subject as „Welcome To Bear Mountain“, but with a focus on the strength of solidarity.
This work will be shown at Galerie Wolfsen (Exhibition opening April 8, 2017). Please inquire with the gallery for more information.
„Welcome To Bear Mountain“ is a sculptural, multi-layered woodcut, painted and brushed/sponged with acrylic paint. One layer is additionally covered in transparent resin. It was produced in Hamburg in my studio between January 26 and February 14, 2017.
ABOUT THE ARTWORK
In my recent work „Welcome To Bear Mountain“, I am once again creating a dialogue between nature and urbanity in todays society. The larger-than-life bear resting on the hilltop; the various people climbing or standing on top of him, holding flares, flags or each others; the high-rise buildings in the background as a contrast to the mountain range in the front - there are a lot of details to discover and explore in this dioramic wall-sculpture. The work is composed almost like a theatre play - with plenty elements of drama.
There are signs of fiery protest and revolution (the flares, the flags, the propaganda-poster-like posture of the trio on top), there is a huge calmness (in the bear and the mountains) and there is hope, in the shape of the masked child and the father figure holding it fast and secure.
You are welcome to join - thus the title - and take your part in this play. Find your own characters and explanations and stories. Choose your side and pick your role. Get involved. Even if you are not into acting and more the spectator-kind of guy: that‘s totally cool, but don‘t just lean back and relax - stay alert.
That is the underlying inspiration for the work: Let‘s jointly face the tasks at hand, which in the state of the world we live in right now are to resist and to prevent and to care. We have to stand together, and the (in this story purely fictional) ‚Bear Mountain‘ is a place where everyone is welcome.
It is probably to easy (and wrong) to file this piece solely under ‚political‘. For me it is full of the romantic and passionate voice I tell all my stories with. But it surely takes a critical stance in a more obvious way than some of my other work. Being more direct and blunt here of course is a concession to current times. When democracy and human values are at risk, holding still and hiding somewhere in front of theTelevision and behind Facebook (etc) is not an option: „You will not be able to stay home, brother / You will not be able to plug in, turn on and drop out“ (Gil Scott-Heron, ‚The Revolution Will Not Be Televised‘, 1970).
But again I have to stop myself here from going too far into the details and the background of the work. I firmly believe that this piece can have a completely different meaning and significance to whoever gets close enough to explore it.
Whis is part of the luxury in art: It is my luxury to spend countless hours in the studio (or wherever I roam, actually), meandering in my thoughts and working away with sharp blades and wood. It is the viewers luxury to get inspired to let her or his personal thoughts wander - or to just give a fuck, of course ...
Whatever your part in „Welcome to Bear Mountain“ will be - I hope you enjoy this work as much as I did creating and building it.
Jörg Heikhaus aka Alex Diamond, February 2017.
This artwork was created for the exhibition ‚TRUMPOMANIA‘, presented by Curator19.90 and Melissa McCaig-Welles at SOLOMON ARTSTribeca, New York, from March 3rd - 16, 2017.
ABOUT THE WORK
Well. I guess this is one of the toughest works I had to create in a long time. It has cost me sleep at night, way too many hours in the studio filled with the horror to carve Donald Trump into wood, a person that I deeply despise. Not just the person - I despise everything this man stands for and those who surround him all over the world: Fascist right wing white supremacy homophobic sexist hateful greedy stupid men and women that try to bring back what the sane part of the world hoped to have made redundant and overcome. Think again! The events of the past year, the past months and especially these past weeks have put a fear into my bones that keeps me up at night and makes me the very angry person again that I have been as a young ‚man‘ in the 80ies, growing up rebelling society to the soundtrack of bands such as The Exploited, Black Flag, Iggy and the Stooges, Minor Threat etc. etc. ...
I even had to carve this ugly face twice. The first version seemed to have conveyed my perspective as well, but the work was too complex and overproduced. So after a few days spent doing my head in with the image of this crazy totalitarian ruler and working not only with the chisel and paint but also applying resin, I kicked the first version out, picked up a fresh woodblock and went for this reduced, almost ‚colorless‘ image:
I stuck Donald Trumps head onto a baby in diapers wearing a fascist uniform.
Well, yes, rather simple and pretty much self-explanatory, but for me it makes the point far better this way. The screaming, crying, simple-minded but dangerous wannabe-politician, incontinent in regards to the garbage that uncontrollably spills out of his mouth, turning this world into a racist and oppressive one that serves only the purpose of his personal pleasure and increasing his wealth, no matter how terrible the consequence for others.
Damn, I am angry. I am angry even writing these lines.
Please don‘t get me wrong: I love the USA. Always have. Always will. I have travelled this beautiful country countless times, on the most amazing road trips, for pleasure and for business, to art fairs and exhibitions. I‘ve had family abroad that moved (and was welcomed) here after World War II, building themselves a future based on the ideals of the USA and the American Dream. I made wonderful and amazing friends over the past 38 (!) years since I visited for the first time. I always admired the beauty of the country and the mentality of the open-minded Americans I had the pleasure to meet. I was never there to judge - we each carry our burdens, no matter where we come from. And even though I am a politically engaged person not holding back with my opinion, I didn‘t think that stepping on the badnwagon of inflationary produced Anti-Trump-artworks would be something I would do.
But that changed when Vika, one of the curators of the exhibition TRUMPOMANIA, asked me to be the german representative in an art show that creates a dialogue between artists from over 30 countries sharing their individual position on how the Trump-Administration will affect the future of all nations.
I am grateful for the opportunity Vika Latysheva, Melissa McCaig-Welles and Charlotte Hamson gave me to share my opinion, and I hope viewers of the work get my point.
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
Opening Reception: Friday March 3rd, 7-10pm
SALOMON ARTS TRIBECA, 83 Leonard St, NYC, NY 10013
‚TRUMPOMANIA‘ is an international group exhibition featuring international artists from over 30 countries, curated by Vika Latysheva (Russia), Melissa McCaig-Welles (USA) and Charlotte Hamson (Canada).
With Amr Fahed (Syria), Mazher Nizar (Yemen), Icy & Sot (Iran), Olek (Poland), Cacao Rocks (Greece), Sen2 (Puerto Rico), Roman Gromov (Ukraine), Maurice Marty (France), Ashekman (Lebanon), Repas (Kazakhstan), Tyler (India), Sergey Mironenko (Russia), Chervi (Kirgystan), Vasily Grino (Belarus), Charlotte Hamson (Canada), Michael Mararian (USA), Marcos Martinez (Spain), Alona Ojog (Moldova), Alex Diamond (Germany), Richie Culver (UK), Jay Ole (Denmark), and many more
This artwork was created for the inaugural exhibition of the new Jonathan Levine Gallery in Jersey City on February 18, 2017. It is a sculptural, 4-layer woodcut, painted and brushed/sponged with acrylic paint. It was produced in Hamburg at my studio between December 27, 2016 and January 18, 2017.
The artwork tells a story of modern day life, of nature and urbanity, where a cemented world becomes the background for various smaller stories of individual human (and not so human) beings, told with lots of imagination and spurs of absurdity in mind. With the bear and the forest as other key elements, this piece is also about trying to keep a world in balance that seems to become crazier every day.
„The World Is Yours, Baby“, the title of this work, is something you‘d tell someone close to you, to inspire that person to go out and explore, create and grow. But it can also be seen as a challenge or a warning to take on responsibility and be commited.
I stop myself here from going too far into the details of, for example, all those people in the work, even though each and one of them does mean a lot to me. I do not like to give too much insight in my thought process behind my artworks, because I want to leave room to your own story to find its way into the image. One of the reasons I love to work with layers is because they create depth and hidden places, thus building spaces in the artwork that can be taken over by everyones‘ imagination. I hope you enjoy this work as much as I did creating and building it.
If you are interested in acquiring this work, please contact email@example.com
The exhibition "Welcome To Jersey" opens February 18, 2017. It features an amazing line-up of artists, and I am very honored to be a part of this very special exhibition amongst Adam Wallacavage, AJ Fosik, Alessandro Gallo, Alexis Diaz, Andy Kehoe, Ashley Wood, Augustine Kofie, Beth Cavener, Camille Rose Garcia, Carlos Ramirez, Chloe Early, Cryptik, Dan Witz, Diego Gravinese, Eloy Morales, Erik Jones, EVOL, Gary Taxali, Haroshi, Hush, Jeff Soto, Jim Houser, Joel Rea, John Jacobsmeyer, Jorg Heikhaus/Alex Diamond, Josh Agle (Shag), Kazuki Takamatsu, Mab Graves, Martin Wittfooth, Mary Iverson, Matt Leines, Matthew Grabelsky, Michael Reeder, Miss Van, Nick Walker, Nychos, Phil Hale, Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Tara McPherson and Tristan Eaton.
Something very personal: This is a painted woodcut of my wonderful family, cut after a photo that was taken at a big farewell last year. It is a very special piece that graces our living room now. This is the last work I did in 2016, called "The Traveller".
It is a rather small work (24x30 cm), that is why it doesn't have many details - there is a limit to precision when cutting small pieces of wood, but I love the roughness and reduction of the carved lines here.
(Oh yeah, and no beards on Melvin or me - the original photo was taken in the beard-free phase last summer, and I don't do "cosmetics" on woodcuts 😎😂)
Two sculptural Woodcuts. Second Edition of the SUPER(FAT)HEROES. These are shown by Galerie Wolfsen in Denmark, please contact Rasmus Fischer to check availability.
Superfathero III: MR TWIGZ (November 2016)
woodcut, acrylic paint, magnets, 46 x 32 cm
Superfathero IV: MRS TWIGZ (November 2016)
woodcut, acrylic paint, magnets, 43 x 34 cm
These more "playful" works were created for DON‘T WAKE DADDY XI, the annual super-group -show at Galerie Feinkunst Krüger in Hamburg, curated by Heiko Müller and Ralf Krüger.
They are mounted to the wall using magnets, so they seem to „hover“ in the air like superheroes do. The distance from the wall can be varied depending on how many magnets you place between wall and artwork. The backsides of the works are painted blue & red to have a slightly different shadow.
Check for availability through firstname.lastname@example.org
I had the honor to create this year's trophy for the music award HANS der Hamburger Musikpreis. It is an annual award, each year the organizers invite an artist to create a unique trophy. The only prerequisite: the rectangle and 3-dimensional format. The trophies will not be reproduced but are originals for each category. A big job when you have to create 11 trophies ... but a beautiful one as well. I had lots of fun coming up with my very own version of a classic cassette player ... the Alex Diamond Portable Tape Recorder!
Just thinking about who now has an original Diamond on their trophy shelve at home makes me feel very proud! The winners: Beginner (they won in three categories), Music Icon and Legend Udo Lindenberg, Haiyti aka Robbery, Johannes Oerding, FARHOT and Folkert Koopmans. (Hope it's not just going to be firewood ...)
Below are some images and a short video - as I was also given the opportunity to talk about the work live on stage at the event (in german).