Harma Heikens – Welcome to the Jungle
Welcome to the Jungle
Witzenhausen Gallery 547 W 27 Street, 5th floor – #508 between 10th and 11th avenue
The near-life-size sculptures made by dutch sculptress Harma Heikens are often described as “grim” and “disturbing”.
Working within the playful idiom of popular culture and using means of communication derived from the advertising world, Heikens calls forth apocalyptic visions of a befouled planet whose inhabitants are terrorised by economic and sexual exploitation. In detailed, live-size scenes, she shows children whose existence seems to be a desperate struggle for life.
Heikens’ arrangements are powerfully thought provoking in their large scale and simplicity. But although her statements are well articulated, it’s not a soapbox stance, neither does she resort to leaving it up to the viewer. Rather what we make of it is an amalgamation of the artist intentions and our built-in perceptions culled from our own reference banks.
Her use of the child figure not only playfully toys with the usual bromidic representation of childhood innocence lost; it does one better. It coaxes an examination of the debasement of our culture, our place in time or how far we’ ve come – or regressed. The once incorruptable Big Eyed, slightly sexualized, and very vunerable child(popularized by the Kean’s)is now sullied by its overuse in entertainment and advertising. Here Heikens turns the advertising game’s most seductive tool back on itself as in “Bladerunner” where a Hummel-like figure bottle feeds his baby sister with Coca Cola.
At the Witzenhausen Gallery Heikens will show 5 new pieces, including a sculpture of Aileen Wuornos, a hitchhiking prostitute who killed seven customers in Florida between 1989 and 1990 and was convicted and sentenced to death for six of the murders She was executed via lethal injection in 2002.
Heikens depicts Aileen Wuornos age thirteen and pregnant, consistent with the facts.
Harma Heikens studied sculpture at The Academie Minerva, Groningen, the Netherlands.
Since then her work has been exhibited in solo- and group shows nationally and internationally