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Alexander Heim

tank.tv is pleased to present a selection of work from Alexander Heim including: Costa, Three Seasons, Untitled (Dog), Grand Walk and Matalan

“(Heim’s) new film Costa (2008) tracks the daily activities of pigeons at a busy coffee shop, following one bird scratching about the feet of commuters, another skittering across a marble floor and a third bracing itself against the wind in a concrete ledge, solemn as an eagle. With painstaking care they hunt for the scraps between glinting metal chairs, clamber up gigantic steps and outwit oblivious shows. The look faintly ludicrous but supremely resourceful. The birds perspective translates familiar surrounding into foreign territory; a station concourse gleams like an immense frozen lake, its menacing cashpoint the mouth to hell; the complicated shadow of a railing is not a reminder of an environment shaped by caring human hands but a welcome rush-hour haven. In a city planned with no thought of pigeons as its users, these benighted tacticians are transcendent. 

The films visual incongruity is heightened by its score of keys clinking on a table, the running of water, a hair-dryer blasting and the spray of perfume. Heim has used this kind of aural dislocation before, setting his film of swans on London’s Regent Canal to techno music (Grand Walk, 2005) and applying a gloriously lush soundtrack to a stray’s encounter with busy traffic in China (Untitled [Dog], 2006). The technique works by emphasizing the human characteristics of these animals; here, for instance, the deftness of a bird picking its way along a wall is captured by the sound of teeth being neatly brushed. It demands a kind of internal re-tuning, since sounds transposed in this way seem both more expansive and more penetrating. Heard in a new context, the efficient noises of a woman preparing to go out are as curious as the world viewed at pavement level. (..) 

Heim strips away the literalness of everyday life, revealing the mysteries contained in the most commonplace. It is no coincidence that he selects the least loved of all birds to be the focus of this lyrical inquiry. The ubiquitous pigeon is emblematic of those inconsequential things that surround us, the routine stuff that so often goes unexamined. the result is no dour pronouncement by the artist on the fate of the dispossessed but a witty celebration of existence on the margins. The birds come across not as pitiable outcasts but as profound seekers after truth; driven by some internal compass they make their own way in the city, discovering their own paths, becoming poets of their own acts.” 
Kate Forde, Frieze, November 2008. 


Alexander Heim studied at the Hochschule fur Bildende Kunste Hamburg, gaining a diploma in fine art in 2004, before completing an MFA at Goldsmiths College, London in 2006. Recent exhibitions include: ‘Doves’ at doggerfisher, Edinburgh; Feeling gave way to structure, The approach E2, London; Nought to Sixty, ICA, London and Drei Jahreszeiten (Three Seasons), Galerie Karin Guenther Hamburg. Alexander Heim currently lives and works in London.