“Two aspects are important for my work. One is the search for the exciting image, and the other is a theoretical part: What is photography? What role does it play in society? What are the central points of a photograph: the sharpness, the recognisability, the fixed naming of a motif (usually centrally in the middle)? And thinking about this photography (also in a social context) accompanies my work.”
Stefan Heyne is a professional stage designer who turned to the medium of photography about 15 years ago and since then has created abstract works of art on a grand scale. Heyne photographs landscapes as well as interiors only the actual motifs are not recognizable as such in his work but are usually coloured areas.
The photographs of Stefan Heyne are emphatically nonrepresentational. The artist omits elements that generally define a photograph, forgoing the use any identifiable motif. Instead he creates abstract photographs that are honed to perfection by paring his imagery to a blurred play of light and shadows with no indication of form.
In his most recent series of works Heyne even avoids the use of soft- focus as an artistic device and emphasizes, in contrast, the high-definition reproduction of perhaps one of the purest motifs of all: the cloudless sky photographed by the artist from the window of an airplane. The colour spectra of pure light that are revealed in these images seem blurry and out of focus, but they are not. Heyne thus achieves the most radical degree of abstraction in his work to date. In his photographs the viewer is confronted with an endless depth of space and eternity.
Stefan’s latest shows were 2018 ‘Der agnostische Raum’ Galerie Michael Schultz, Berlin, Germany, 2017 ‘SUPER VISION. The New German Abstraction’ Diane Rosenstein Gallery, Los Angeles, USA 2015 and ‘ULTIMATE’ Epicentro art, Sammlung Marc Fiedler, Berlin, German.
Born in 1965 in Brandenburg an der Havel, Heyne now lives and works in Berlin.
What is photography for you?
A truly contemporary form of art, perhaps the most appropriate. Nowadays, everyone carries a camera with them on their smartphones, but who carries a marble block or easel? Photography is on the one hand a mass phenomenon and on the other hand a genre of art. Its firm anchoring in both areas and the interaction between them makes it unique and exciting.
Most photographer are after reproducing the world as they see it through their lenses for a reason or another, your photography are the most abstract I have found yet… can you tell us more about why your body of work is so nonrepresentational?
There is this beautiful sentence by Paul Cézanne: “You have to hurry if you want to see something, everything disappears.” An essential function of photography seems to capture a moment quasi objectively and irretrievably. In my work, I show exactly the opposite: things are actually always gone.
Would you say for you photography is a matter of light and shadow and by omitting the actual form or the image itself, you concentrate further on the light and shadow?
We are always concerned with concentration, everything that does not belong is thrown out. Art comes from omission.
In one of your text, you mention the endless depth of space and eternity, would you say our universe, our word, the one you see through your lenses and you are trying to explore and help the viewer to perceive it, is also an endless depth of space and eternity, an endless universe?
We define ourselves very strongly through things, unambiguities and thus also limitations and finiteness. This obviously helps us and restricts us at the same time. I think infinity is something very obvious and beautiful. From my point of view infinity is essential to our universe.
When did you realise you wanted to explore another way of photographing which became your uniqueness and why? Can you tell us more about this please.
I was in Paris and stood in front of the Eiffel Tower. I saw everyone around me taking pictures of the Eiffel Tower. I had a little time and thought: This is going on here every day, day in, day out, and it has been going on ever since the cameras were installed. Every day, thousands of people come to take this shot and add it to an imaginary collection of countless shots of the Eiffel Tower. Why are you doing this? Why do you want to add your own recording? A little later I visited a friend in Berlin, the inside of his apartment door was plastered with countless shots of the Eiffel Tower. From then on, I looked for another way of photography...
Are you working on a new Serie currently and if so, would you like to tell us more about it?
My new series will be about letters, numbers, words and whole texts. The language as an image seems to be an equally endless field. In our convention, letters, words and texts stand for content and meaning. But there is apparently something that points beyond that...