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Bonniers Konsthall and Wanås Konst present two major solo exhibitions with artist Jeppe Hein
Jeppe Hein, Smoking Bench (Rykande bänk), 2002. Foto: Per Kristiansen.

STOCKHOLM.- Danish artist Jeppe Hein’s installations and sculptures plays with our sensory experiences and invites the audience to take an active role. When visitors approach what may seem to be something familiar, like a mirror, they encounter something unexpected. In Light Pavilion the unfolding of a bright trail of lights is activated by a person peddling on a stationary bicycle, expanding into a circus-like tent. In the work You everyone who tries to look through a hole in the wall meets a reflection of his own eye.

Jeppe Hein’s work rests on a humble anti-hierarchical approach with an open door to Western art history as well as other traditions. Within his work, Hein makes reference to minimalism and its use of industrial materials and space, as well as the importance of the viewer for the completion of the work. In this exhibition, there are also clear influences of Eastern culture, such as Zen Buddhism, which is apparent in the new work, Path of Frequencies, which Hein has created specifically for the gallery. When a visitor enters the gallery, a sensor reacts and releases a ball on a string, which is set in motion and runs the length of a dynamic track passing different Buddhist singing bowls that make a sound whenever a ball touches them. A concert of different tones arises depending on how many visitors are inside the room.

I am right here right now... is a central piece in the exhibition. Hundreds of watercolors hang in the exhibition center, painted by Jeppe Hein at a time when he withdrew himself from the art world in order to reduce the increased pace of his life and work. They are a form of diary in which the viewer can follow the artist from a state of fatigue to the first signs of recovery. The vulnerability found in the paintings alters the reading of the exhibition as a whole, and also presents a decisive shift in Hein’s practice.

What is happiness to you? Knowing that for most people the biggest aim in life is the pursuit of happiness, Jeppe Hein started to deal with this topic on multiple levels. His intention is to approach the theme from an artistic point of view and share the diverse perceptions he encounters. By asking people questions about happiness - What is happiness to you? How does it feel, taste, sound? - in a public campaign that started before the exhibition, he seeks the universal - and at the same time extremely personal - meaning of happiness. Knowing that, as a result, there will not be a clear road to happiness, but maybe an index of streets. A selection of answers from the campaign will be presented in the exhibition.

- As a first stage, the upcoming exhibitions at Bonniers Konsthall and Wanås Konst in Sweden will centre on the theme by illustrating my personal journey, on the one hand, and on the other hand by encouraging viewers to consider their individual idea of happiness through interactive installations and participatory projects.

Some works will appeal to the visitor’s senses; others will demand their active involvement. Some will create a funny situation engaging people to start a dialogue with each other; others will face the viewer with essential questions that they can only answer on their own. All of them will offer people a moment of being “right here right now“ and a smile on the face. - Jeppe Hein

The exhibition A smile for you is part of a larger collaboration between the artist Jeppe Hein, Bonniers Konsthall and Wanås Art.

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