THE DEED | DAS WERK: Stef Heidhues

The artist Stef Heidhues (*1975), born in Washington (USA) and living in Berlin, speaks about the central message of her artistic work during her interview.

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Exhibition view Galerie EIGEN + ART Berlin, Stef Heidhues, Backstage with
the Modern Dancers, 2021, Courtesy of Galerie EIGEN + ART Berlin & Stef Heidhues

Please describe the core theme and the central message of your work.

In my artistic practice I develop spatial settings in which sculptures and wall objects contextualize each other and group themselves to form walk-in pictures.

Starting points are everyday objects and the examination of public and social spaces (e.g. in the sense of ‘How to live together’ by Roland Barthes, Abwesen by Byung-Chul Han, ‘The Art of Freedom’ by Juliane Rebentisch) and the dynamics and power relations arising from them. While my work does not adress political events or questions, the examination of political phenomena like the financial crisis or protest cultures is also a source of my work. As industrial wastelands, empty storefronts and ruins of unfinished buildings, they inscribe themselves into the cityscape. In fashion, advertising and window displays, protest cultures are reabsorbed into the cycle of commerce: Here, intentional and unintentional design intertwines.

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Stef Heidhues, Studio, Courtesy of Stef Heidhues

These paradoxes, contradictions and interstices are central reference points for my artistic work. Furthermore, it is fed by a preoccupation with immaterial states such as bodily tension and relaxation as well as psychosocial aspects of interaction such as language, power games, defense mechanisms and projection.

In a process of appropriation, alienation, reduction and deconstruction I develop my works as multi-layered spatial images.

I understand my artistic practice as a discursive and open rhizomatic principle within which, among other things, sculpture, spatial strategies, stage design, design and drawing meet.

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Stef Heidhues, Studio, Courtesy of Stef Heidhues

Introduce us to the work that, in your view, exemplifies or best embodies the message of your work.

My work doesn’t have a message. Works come from somewhere, there is an origin, or several sources out of which they evolve. More than a work is about something it comes from a certain place. A place of interest, doubt, denial, reaction or reflection and urge.

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Stef Heidhues, Studio, Courtesy of Stef Heidhues

What is the aim of your art, your work, what is it supposed to achieve in the viewer?

It exists and as such one may relate to it or not.  Depending on expectations, experiences, wishes or knowledge it is perceived differently by each individual. It is an offer, a proposition. My work doesn’t have any aim or purpose.


The question concerning THE DEED | DAS WERK is a complementary and separately presented part of THE INTERVIEW IN|DEEDS with Stef Heidhues.

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