By Friedhelm Häring


Since the second half of the 19th century the roaring engine sound of „tempomania“ is increasing: „Time is money“ is an inhuman scorning slogan to which zeitgeist gave birth. Its aim is increasing the assets by means of more rapid techniques of production and enhancement of the products by overcoming space and by condensating time. Art and artist are responding to this, too, striving for for a dynamization of composition as well for the process of development. The beholder’s passive contemplation is disturbed for a long time. From happenings, fluxus, and performance on he is scared up, he gets into motion himself. Side by side with the artist he has to go scouting. The work of art is no ideal far away. Today immersion into the work is evoked, adjacence is postulated. So everyday life between talk show and peep show has lost its distances. Everything is racy and in public. So art is seeking immediacy, closeness, spontaneous reinterpretation.

The action paintings of Barbara Heinisch, consisting of dance, the model’s silhouette, colour, and canvas, are creating metamorphoses in the instant of action to a new validity of the consistency of visual art. The problem of time in an image is answered anew. No strange story is renarrated. Artist, instance of painting, space, and time are merging into a whole. To paint is the proper event, the procedure. Canvas is the dimension of thought. The rage of colour recedes into the canvas, the bed of symmetry by which it is sustained.

The cognizable dynamization of the act of painting went on its way parallel with automation. Robert Delaunay (1885-1941) dispersed in phases his formal aspects of Cubism to a simultaneous dissection of theme and displacement of reality of different colour harmonies. Vital life, pulsating everyday life, displacement of reality, by train or car, rotation and velocity are captured by vacillations and intersections.

Especially Futurism (between 1909 and 1916) in Italy admitted its devoutness to modern technology and created one of the most radical artistic and literary revolutions. They wanted to show the innate physical power and to place the beholder in the centre of the image. Gino Severini, Giacomo Balla, Umberto Boccioni convinced with reiteration in phases, vibrating contours and changing forms. Umberto Boccioni painted „A Footballplayer‘s Dynamics“ in 1913. Such paintings build the bridge to Robert Delaunay’s „Orphism“. The political message, the political destruction of the bourgeois culture was passed on via Dadaism to action painting. In this line the American Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) held his special position with his paint drippings. In Germany, after 1945, there were the artists of the Informel, among them Karl Otto Götz (b. 1914) with his swirled structures achieved in his „painting arena“ with brush and scraper. Pollock and Götz painted their works on canvas laid on the floor, achieving psychic relinquishings and new codes of perception as event and time lapse. The Frenchman Yves Klein (1928-1962) created his works using naked women whom he directed how to paint their bodies and how to rub them across the canvas; they were tools. The Austrian Maria Lassnig (b. 1919) created paintings as body feeling images deduced out of her own psychological situation. In this international framework of action painting one has to contemplate and to evaluate the work of Barbara Heinisch.

Barbara Heinisch’s actions are well known for decennia, much disputed, and contemporary expressions inside the process of acceleration which apprehended everyday life, the arts and the procedure of painting. Similtaneously through her actions she aspires at the opposite, the You. She is one of the most remarkable artists of our time because she found a way to lead a painting accelerated up to madness and frenzy out of its furioso and its abstract reeling without forfeiting spontaneousness and energy. Her contribution combining painting and performance in dialogue with her model is unique.

Music, dance, the model’s silhouette moving behind the canvas, her visual judgment, her concentration and energy, and the beholders‘ entering advertence create a work of art full of tense common ground, emotionalizing all participants: moved image – moving.

Translated by Wilfried Schaum M. A.