Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Heidi Voet

HVOET_portrait_YALEBorn in Belgium, Heidi Voet lives and works in Shanghai and Brussels.

Her multi-disciplinary artistic practice is characterized by her playful and transformative use of objects to make critical social commentary about everyday life. Heidi Voet’s work is informed by her transcultural experience of both residing in Europe and Asia and frequently uses popular images or objects found in Chinese contemporary culture as central subjects in her works.

For one of her best-known series, Heidi Voet created elaborately patterned rugs by interlocking thousands of colorful digital watches, manufactured in China. The watches all have synchronized alarms, but inevitably malfunction and chime off beat over time.

For her solo show ‘500 years’, the ubiquitous, often-overlooked, plastic bag and its 500 year lifespan is a catalyst to explore the notion of change. Heidi Voet laboriously weaved out of colored plastic bags, flags of countries that no longer exist. Within the life span of a disposable plastic bag hundreds of nation states have formed and collapsed, changed, and reconfigured. In a world where the history of war and strife is predicated on nationalism Heidi Voet’s colorful flags examine the transient and impermanent nature of so-called national identity.

Amongst these flags are what looks like tribal masks, also made from weaved plastic bags, and displayed on wooden pedestals. While the bag transports items from one state to the next- consumable to consumed, store to home- tribal masks are used in rites of passage from one state to the next- boyhood to man, life to death; and as the plastic bag acts as a skin around the contents inside, masks disguise the wearer’s identity, enabling them to exhibit behaviors outside social conventions.

Heidi Voet repeatedly conflates the historical with the mundane, the universal with the personal, in a spirited way. She positions the plastic bag as a shifting actor in this body of work to emphasize the notion of impermanence. Her whimsical and quotidian choice of materials follows her earlier work where Voet imbues common, overlooked objects with new value and meaning – through the simple act of making and playing.

Heidi Voet’s work has been shown in several solo shows including ‘500 years’ at BANK, Shanghai (CN), ITPark, Taipei (TW) and has participated in numerous group shows as ‘ ‘Decorum’, The Powerstation of Art, Shanghai (CN), Neo Povera’ at L&M Arts, Los Angeles (USA), ‘Revel’, Moca, Shanghai (CN) and ‘Un-scene’ at the Wiels Contemporary Art Center in Brussels (B). Learn more on her website here as well as this link –

HVOET_exhibition view_500y_YALE
Exhibition view ‘500 years’, BANK, Shanghai (CN), 2014-2015, variable dimensions, plastic bags, wood, paint, metal wire 
Is six afraid of seven ‘cause seven, eight nine I’m about to lose the pieces I find. 2011, 340x600cm, electronic watches, sound


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