Interactive Exhibit by Sculpture Artist Jeppe Hein

Last weekend I spent a few hours roaming the halls of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. After searching for Shots in the Dark: Photos by Weegee the Famous and watching the video installations by Joshua Mosley, I wound my way around the third floor of the IMA contemporary art halls only to be stopped by a tiny little sign: “Gallery Closed for Exhibit Installation.” A dark steel structure wound its way out of the entrance to this IMA Indianapolis art gallery, a kind of track that continued on behind the walls of the closed gallery. Only a brief glance at an interesting sculptural structure being constructed at the IMA had me planning my next trip back. The Indianapolis Museum of Art opens a new exhibit by German artist Jeppe Hein and an additional outdoor artwork in the IMA’s Fairbanks Art and Nature Park Friday, May 7, 2010. This Indianapolis art offering is part of the IMA’s regular galleries, making it FREE to all Indianapolis people.

Born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1974, Jeppe Hein is a world renowned abstract sculpture and installation artists. He studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Art from 1997 to 2003 and the Stakelschule in Frankfurt between 1999 and 2000 (while still registered as a student at the Danish Academy). While in school in Denmark, Hein was a co-founder of a group called OTTO, a non commercial organization that organized art exhibitions at various venues in Denmark from 1997 to 2000.

Hein has exhibited his work in museums around the world. Aside from being selected to show at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, his work has been seen in London, Los Angeles, Tokyo, New York, Brussels, Paris, Vancouver, Munich, Florence, Miami, Sydney and the list goes on and on. A recurring theme in Jeppe Hein’s artwork is the viewers relationship, or responsibility, for making the work come to full fruition. By creating interactive installations and sculptures that often rely on motion sensors to gauge the movement of the gallery around it, Hein creates work that begins and ends when viewers enter the space.

Jeppe Hein attempts to elicit, in his words, “an incongruous dialogue between the art and the viewer and to use humor to broaden the limits of conceptual art. I want to show that the work isn’t anything on its own, it is only what the public informs it with. The viewer’s role brings the piece to the center of attention.” This attitude permeates his two latest works, on view at the IMA starting this weekend.

Distance, on the third floor of this Indianapolis museum, is a site specific installation of a dynamic indoor roller coaster track for a series of white, plastic balls. The track contains a motion sensor at its beginning, so that when a visitor enters the space the sensor reacts sending a ball on its journey through the ups and downs of Hein’s installation. The ball passes through loops, sharp curves and other fast paced sections within the circuit as the audience walks through the gallery space.

In addition to this indoor installation, Hein has also created a new outdoor experiential artwork on the Museum grounds for the inaugural exhibition of the 100 Acres: The Virgina B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park. These works, in tandem, encourage visitors to the IMA to consider the ever changing relationship between the work of one artist engaging in architectural, spatial and navigational experiences of the interior and exterior sites.

Catch Hein’s indoor installation at the IMA through September 5, 2010. Then head outside to enjoy the grounds and gardens of the IMA, the Oldfields-Lilly Mansion and the new Art and Nature Park featuring Hein’s sculpture. Afterward, head to the Nourish Cafe for some refreshment. Or better yet, make your way to the nearby Indianapolis cultural district, Broad Ripple Village, for a bite to eat. Sample any of the many great Indianapolis restaurants or Indianapolis bars there.

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Jeppe Hein
May 7 through September 5, 2010

Indianapolis Museum of Art
4000 Michigan Rd
Indianapolis, IN 46208

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