Christian Helwing: (B)east!
Kunsthalle Krems, Austria
July 17 – November 01, 2021
The art of Christian Helwing grows out of a sensitive and precise reaction to existing spaces. He develops site-specific art in which he takes into consideration the formal, architectural, and historic parameters of the location. For the Dominikanerkirche Krems, Helwing designs an installation with white and black curtains as well as rugs that serve to incorporate the church interior into the artwork. He is particularly interested in the axes of the space, which stemmed from the connection between the church building and the monastery, and the resulting altered alignment of the nave – not toward the east. For the visitors, this creates an altered, purist spatial structure that they can experience by walking through the space.
Christian Helwing places a sculpture of the Archangel Michael, created by Andreas Krimmer in 1688, in the Oberlichtsaal of the Kunsthalle Krems. The figure originally stood by the Mariensäule in front of the Dominikanerkirche. Today, a replica stands in its place; the original is held in the museumkrems, in the former Dominikanerkloster. Through the transfer of the original to the Kunsthalle, Helwing forges a link between the two exhibition venues. The artist embeds the dynamic depiction of the archangel in a black-and-white spatial structure that completely captivates the viewer. The severe “white cube” is set in motion, becoming a space through which the viewer must pass, where the space, the work, and the viewer become a single unit. Helwing covers the replica by the Mariensäule in order to underscore its absence.