Oliver Hein

about my work


The main field of interest is the transformation of spaces or objects through movement, light or time, questions of their presence and the perception of reality. The objects and spaces I create change their appearance in many ways such as lighting, colour, motion, position or shape and challenge the viewing habits:
A tomato is not a tomato, a sculpture is not a sculpture unless the viewer himself actually makes it, by naming it and giving it the necessary qualities to complete the task of creation. So the work I make is only one part of the whole thing by providing a context and giving hints that can be followed to create the piece in the viewer´s mind. The result is not permanent, it all depends on the state of mind and on the images that are saved in it. This is an aspect that has led me to use light and video in my installations, or common materials everyone knows like Polyethylene sheet, plastic or DIY gadgets: materials that have entirely penetrated todays life.


An inflatable sculpture will only bear its sculptural quality as long as it is inflated. With its blower attached to an electric movement sensor it depends on the viewer to maintain this quality by moving himself, taking a deliberate action and with it a considerate thought towards the piece.


Embedded into a social context a sculpture or installation can ask essential questions about the place it occupies, its history and neighbourhood, about society. This means that public art has a task: to question the relationship between the people and their urban and social environment. Art can pinpoint essential aspects of life in a society, for example by picking up on collective images, behaviours, social structures or viewing habits. It can ask the right questions, catch people¥s attention and provoke thoughts and understanding. Images loose their value very quickly, as everything does in a society that is constantly looking for the extreme.

I think for an appropriate answer art should be just as ephemeral, open and diverse as society is - so it can keep up with it.

A recording of a talk I gave at RMJM Archiects , Cambridge Office in January 2009:

A Fire and Sound Performance I did with Fred Frith, Pavel Fayt and Ko Rüchardt in Munich 1995 "HEPHAISTOS"