We would like to invite you to the opening of our current exhibition ‘La dolce vita’ by the Munich sculptor Albert Hien. Not only does the title of the exhibition remind us of the famous movie by Frederico Fellini from 1960, but we also connect it with the idleness at the Mediterranean beaches in the summertime with its endless fields of beach chairs, umbrellas, sunburn and boredom. In the memories of the artist puzzle books, brought along to dawdle away time and holiday depressions, are an integral part of this scenario. This unproductive and sad act of solving crossword puzzles and Sudokus has disturbed and fascinated Hien, even as a child. Today he sees this senseless and purposeless brain practice as pure ‘Schivanoia’ (Ital.: ‘to flee from boredom’) and therefore as an appropriate equivalent to purposeless artistic activity. But his focus is never on the unsolved problem or the empty boxes on the pages of the puzzle book but instead is directed towards the sample solutions at the end of the magazine. There, groups of numbers and letters form constellations in geometric arrangements whose cryptic character exceeds the original mysteriousness by far. For Hien it takes the visible typographic manifest solution to start the mystery (The solution is the problem!!).
This brings us from the chair on the beach directly to the engagement in works of conceptual art and concrete poetry. Their artists often used Neon writing to find an adequate medium for the immaterial character of the content conveyed by script. For several years Hien has also been working with Neon systems. But as a sculptor (participating in documenta 7 and 8) the detachment of the signs and letters from the surface and their recombination as a sculpture has priority. The specific materiality and the technical manufacture of the neon systems, as well as the color effect are important elements in Hien’s artistic experiments.
Albert Hien is also participating in the great exhibition ‘German Light Art in the 20th and 21st century’, that will be shown at the Kunstmuseum Celle in 2013/14 with important Neon works.