A Hefti new acquisition for Lakeland Arts

 

Raphael Hefti, Disco No.7, 2006

Raphael Hefti, Disco No.7, 2006

 

Lighting up the hallway at Abbot Hall is a striking, immaculate photograph of an Alpine mountainside illuminated by the incandescent flash of a magnesium flare. This brilliant new acquisition, presented to Lakeland Arts by the Contemporary Art Society, is by a young Swiss artist, Raphael Hefti, who has steadily been making a name for himself over the last few years. The photograph, entitled Disco No.7, is typical of the work of Hefti, which often takes an investigative, scientific approach to its subject matter but mixes it with a dash of daring and ‘what if’ experimentation. The results, however, are consistently beautiful.

Raphael Hefti, Replaying the mistake of a broken hammer, 2012

Raphael Hefti, Replaying the mistake of a broken hammer, 2012

For instance, a more recent work, Replaying the mistake of the broken hammer, is a shimmering metal rod with the brittle properties of glass, created by deliberately interrupting the steel-tempering process. Or Subtraction as Addition creates another infinitely variegated surface through the addition of multiple anti-reflective layers to large sheets of museum glass so that its transparent properties are almost totally obliterated. (As an aside, any museum-worker who has ever had to order low-reflective glass will be aware how frighteningly expensive it is – such art works do not come about merely by accident but as the result of careful planning and require a significant financial commitment on the part of the artist).

Raphael Hefti, Subtraction as Addition, 2012

Raphael Hefti, Subtraction as Addition, 2012

And so to Disco No.7: a freezing night for Hefti and a team of helper-friends, a single chance to capture the magical moment when the exploding flare illuminates the mountainside like a giant celestial camera flash, the risk that things may not go according to plan (in fact, at one stage, Hefti blew up his car through the accidental detonation of explosive materials in the boot, resulting in his arrest). A maverick creative spirit combined with a probing scientific exactitude: these are the qualities of which great art is made.

Advertisements