Marie von Heyl

Marie von Heyl: Of Occasional Tables and Alternative Endings

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New work by Berlin-based artist Marie von Heyl with be at the Exeter Phoenix in the Of Occasional Tables and Alternative Endings exhibition.

Von Heyl’s work dances around meanings, pointing at the unexpectedly beautiful, tracing the uncanny and tapping into the absurd. Triggered by linguistic nit-picking and idiosyncrasies of translation, her work often aims to catch objects in the act of transcending their original context.

An interest in domestic interiors and mundane objects is central to von Heyl’s practice and this body of work starts with the English term ‘occasional table’, which resonates with her suspicion that an object may posses multiple states of being, independent from its common use. If an object becomes a table only on occasion, what are its alternatives; what else may it be at other times?

Her interests pass from spiritualist séances to the oblique language of internet chat rooms, leading her to a branch of C17th Cartesian philosophy known as Occasionalism and an exploration of 3D modelling software.

A new video work Fuzzy Logic (2014) captures the point of view of a robotic vacuum cleaner as it trundles about an empty apartment. Operating on ‘fuzzy logic’, a programming method that tries to apply human decision making to machines, its mundane, algorithmic movements investigate the spaces under chairs and tables in a relentless but ultimately meaningless journey.

Marie von Heyl A large text work, Houseshare (2014), reproduces an obsolete, 2012 chat-room thread regarding a contestant on the UK Big Brother TV show nicknamed ‘the occasional table’. By taking the conversation at face value, a piece of furniture is discussed as a sentient character in a context repeatedly referred to as ‘the house’, giving the impression that one is reading a discussion amongst the other objects that furnish this place.

A large, sculptural installation called Occasions (2014) presents a field of monochromatic, spray painted objects. This landscape of parts of things, including Victorian table legs and mouldings as well as more oblique functional-looking objects, relate to the ghostly ‘other-world’ of 3D modelling environments – objects that hover somewhere between reality and imagination.

This world is explored further in a video work WYSIWYG (2013) and in a series of large-scale digital prints of imagery extracted from an online ‘warehouse’ of 3D modelled objects, created in open-source software and free to download.

Picking up loose threads, the artist shifts contexts and alters the states of things to highlight unconventional ways of reading and to enable alternative endings.

Marie von Heyl: Of Occasional Tables and Alternative Endings is at the Exeter Phoenix from Friday May 23 to – Saturday, July 5. it is open Monday to Saturday, 10am – 5:30pm.  Free entry.

Associated events:

Artist’s Talk: Marie von Heyl
Sat 7 June, 2pm, FREE
The artist will discuss the exhibition and his wider practice.

Screening: Ubu-Roulette
Tue 17 Jun, 7.30pm, FREE
Marie von Heyl and Joachim Stein bring their monthly avant-garde artist’s film event from Berlin to Exeter. A chance to see some rare, bizarre and challenging moving image work that you are unlikely to come across anywhere else.