Heidrun Holzfeind

Heidrun Holzfeind is an artist who explores selected thematic complexes with great analytic interest, rendering them accessible in an aesthetic and artistic sense via seemingly restrained but all the more precise means. One of Holzfeind’s emphases is on (frequently modernist or postwar-modernist) architectural projects, many of which were built as residential complexes designed to facilitate specific forms of urban cohabitation; she confronts such projects’ once-utopian aspirations with the social and political reality of the people who live there today. Holzfeind’s method has a documentary component: she shows her protagonists in their living situations and allows them to speak at length while herself remaining in the background. At the same time, though, she subtly brings her personal aesthetic reflections to bear in order to simultaneously convey political content between the lines. Za Żelazną Bramą (2009) is part of a trilogy about modernist residential complexes—two of them in the West, one of them in the (former-)communist East—aimed at evoking critical discussion of modernist promises with regard to urbanism and home living: In Corviale, Il Serpentone (2001), Holzfeind looks at the Corviale complex that was constructed between 1975 and 1982 on the outskirts of Rome, while her work Za Żelazną Bramą focuses on a Warsaw residential project built between 1965 and 1972; both of these are based the urbanistic ideas of Le Corbusier. Colonnade Park, Mies in Newark Revisited (2011), on the other hand, is about the Pavilion and Colonnade Apartments built by Mies van der Rohe in Newark, New Jersey in 1960. Holzfeind composes portraits of the respective presences of these complexes and their inhabitants while at the same time showing the historical shifts and upheavals to which such projects, originally intended as ideal solutions, have been subject. And in doing so, she succeeds in placing urbanistic and sociopolitical elements that would seem to be peripheral, ignored, and forgotten at the center of attention.



1972, Lienz / AT


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