Please join uns October 28 from 6–10 pm for the release of the book „It's all good.", documenting Alex Diamond's largest exhibition to date in the Barlach Halle K in June 2022. For this event we publish a very exclusive and strongly limited edition with individually painted covers by the artist.
The presentation is embedded in a small exhibition at our gallery, showing selected work from the main show at Barlach Halle K. Have some drinks with us on the opening night on Friday, October 28, from 6 to 10 pm, or visit the exhibition the two weeks after.
Please note: This first batch of the book is limited to 50! It can be pre-ordered in our shop - please follow this link.
As a little preview, we are posting here the foreword of the book as well as the first 9 pages of the book. (Photos cover and page 4 by Julia Schwendner)
FOREWORD OF THE BOOK
By Melvin Heikhaus
In June 2022, the artist Jörg Heikhaus aka Alex Diamond presented his largest exhibition to date at the prestigious Barlach Halle K in Hamburg. He showed a new body of work that was created over the course of one year and consisted of his trademark woodwork, a return to painting and roughly 300 works on paper from his ongoing drawing project.
This exhibition is part of the celebration of our 20th gallery anniversary. Jörg opened the heliumcowboy artspace two decades ago in his artist studio in Hamburg St. Pauli to give talent from all over the world a slightly different exhibition opportunity: A place where art is not only experienced, but also produced and lived.
Since 2020 now he is no longer active in the gallery and I took over the reins at heliumcowboy. But of course, in this special year it was a dear concern for me to give him an outstanding opportunity to present his art. That is why we choose the Barlach Halle K - I wanted Jörg to have as much space as he needed to and a breathtaking place to show.
I am privileged to be so close to the production of his work. Being his son makes me even more of an insider, I have a deep understanding of his roots, his passion, his mentality. It was great to see the artworks emerging, almost daily there were new pieces or developments in his studios, new aspects and angles of his socially and politically motivated work, I saw the impact of his focused process but also the battles that he fought with getting the stories out with his woodworking tools, paints and brushes, and his tireless pen dancing over the paper.
I believe getting back into painting again was a very important but also unexpected move on the road to this exhibition. I remember when Jörg told me he felt the urge to paint again, which seemed more like a vigorous need, it came very spontaneous, and he was so driven that he immediately went out and got a ton of canvases and spent restless hours working with thick paint and oil pastels - which he hadn’t done in almost a decade. For many years he had mostly focused on his wood work, constructing his wooden „stages“ and wall sculptures and carving thousands of lines and developing his very own technique and style, making these artworks so highly unique. But instead of staying in his, well, comfort zone, he went for yet another challenge by bringing painting back to his palette of techniques to express himself.
The result - in all three disciplines, including the drawings of course - doesn’t cease to amaze me. And it looks more like two or three exhibitions at once, but all from one hand, from one mind. Of course, you might say I am biased because he is family but trust me, I am one of his toughest critics as well and he is often looking to me for a debate about his work. My job as a gallerist is to establish relationships with my artists, and each one is a different character and a highly individual person, and just because Jörg is my father doesn’t mean he is easy to work with at all times.
I guess that is why my favorite work of this exhibition is the one on the cover and first page of this book: „Broken Painting like a broken Record (Sunderland Must Die)“ is the last piece that went into the show, it was finished while already hanging on the walls of the Barlach Halle K. Much has accumulated in the making of this work, there is a whole other painting underneath the black surface, there is more than one story behind it, there is anger but also an explosive power, it became very personal, also between Jörg and me. It got destroyed but rebirthed. It was a fight that turned into a close, emotional bond. Which probably is why despite being so different than all other paintings, for me it became the essence of the show. When you, dear reader, and I have a chance to personally meet I’ll tell you the whole story. And also why the subtitle („Sunderland Must Die“) seems aggressive, but is actually pretty funny.
An exhibition of this scale deserves to be remembered, and be looked at again, and again, that’s why it is important that we produced this book, a catalogue of the show including the artwork and impressions from the events we held during our stay at the Barlach Halle K. We do not live in simple times, and physical access to art has been limited in recent years which accelerated a „relocation“ to digital gallery experiences. While I appreciate the possibilities and the international reach of our online projects, it will always be more important for heliumcowboy to place the works of our gallery artists in a visitable and personal context.
Preparing, installing, presenting and celebrating „It’s all good.“ has been a lot of work but more importantly a beautiful experience for me as a young gallerist. I hope this book in your hands will give you the opportunity to understand the impact of this exhibition and to relive the joy of it.
A big thank you to all the wonderful people who supported Jörg and me on our way to this monster show, to our collectors and friends and of course to all visitors - real, digital, and now also in print.