Jürgen Heinz

„The soul of the object is revealed through movement“

In the work of Jürgen Heinz movement determines the artistic form of expression. The sculptures, architectural and spatial installations of the Darmstadt-based metal sculptor change the space through their pure presence, acting in private, museum and public spaces. With his MOVING SCULPTURES, Jürgen Heinz crosses the seemingly insurmountable gap between archaic heavy steel and gentle movement. They communicate with the observer, touch, cast a spell and challenge him to act.

We wanted to get a deeper insight into sources of inspiration and working methods and asked some questions:

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Why did you start working as an artist?

I come from a craftsman family and because of my upbringing and the influence of my father, who was a metal worker and entrepreneur, my path was in a way predetermined. The profession of sculptor or blacksmith is a very difficult one. Someone who works in an office can´t imagine what a blacksmith has to set in motion. This work is extremely physical.

My father was very important to me. He has challenged me, criticized me and sent me abroad to come back with new experiences. I came back and then took another path, not that of the craftsman, who was actually his path, but my own.

How do your sculptures differ from static sculptures?

For many, static sculpture is a down-to-earth, grounded sculpture. However, my sculptures are moving steel sculptures: first you perceive a block or an object that at first glance stands motionless in space. But then suddenly movement comes along - the sculpture comes to life. The soul of the object is revealed through movement.

How do you proceed with your work?

I mainly work out from drawings and sketches, which are mostly made at home at night. These are very simple sketches, scribbles that are sometimes just lines. It´s about catching an idea. I then go to my studio with this idea and sketch. I then start - often from the gut - and immediately convert a sketch into a finished object. I always have to implement my ideas very quickly. In contrast to earlier times, I have a short half-life, because for me an idea that has been in the drawer too long loses its strength very quickly.

What do you want to achieve in five years?

That is a difficult question but my biggest goal would be that I can continue to work with a lot of fun and in good health. But also that I have become better known with my work. Similar to the development of my work, which is always in motion, so am I. Like an interplay between moving and static sculpture, it´s always something new, it´s always moving in everything and something new always comes. One idea builds on the old, one sculpture nourishes the next.

What is important to you?

Gratitude is enormously important to me, especially in relation to people I have met on my way through life and at many crossroads. People who taught me things with which I philosophized and who accompanied me in a groundbreaking way.

In general, values are important to me that are sometimes neglected in today´s society: Respect, esteem and honesty.

How do you describe your work?

My field is the moving steel sculpture. This means that the starting point is a static sculpture, an object standing at the first moment. Then an external movement is added by the human being or pushed by the wind and the sculpture begins to move in space.

Do you want to say something with your art?

At first glance, steel has a very cold surface, but the movement gives it a completely different aspect. This steel is then no longer rough and cold, but unfolds its soul. In this way you can communicate with the sculpture.

Which techniques do you prefer?

There are two options for my work: either forging or assembly and welding. The difference is: when I forge an object, it's a sculpture, when it's assembled, it's a sculpture.

The forging process, which has been the same for thousands of years, is an archaic process. The steel is put into the fire of the forged carbon and the heating makes it soft and workable. I can bend and shape it. At this point it is important that I work very quickly. I need to know exactly what my goal is and I need to see the precise path ahead of me.

The shaping is one thing, with the moving plastic it is then an experimenting, a sounding out. Finally, the surface is treated, it is oiled, brushed or simply left as it is, which I find most beautiful.

What does `fire´ and `movement´ mean to you?

In forging, I feel like I'm coming home. I think it's because the forge fire is something very original. Fire has a great meaning for man. It warms us, we can cook our food. But it also has opposites, because fire can also mean something bad. But fire also means movement through its flames.

For me, movement means 'not standing still'. I think for a person movement is something positive, something great, even if it is sometimes not allowed. It makes us feel happy. The person who is trapped with himself needs change. On the other hand, however, everyone knows standstill and there are situations in which a person stands still and this standstill is also very important. What would the standstill be without the movement or what would the movement be without the standstill? It is an interplay between both.

By the treatment in the fire each object gets not only a beautiful surface, but also a soul. The soul is the most important thing of the object. It is the most important of all.


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