Heiko Neumeister








Christos Ganos: "Quidquid fit, necessario fit"


“All that takes place, happens due to necessity”, Schopenhauer mentions in his essay on Free Will.  Doubtless this opinion may seem – or even attractive - though contemporary science has taught humanity otherwise; the charming effect of necessity, an infinite causality, a process of self-induction.  Quidquid fit, necessario fit, however post-modern chaos has infiltrated human understanding and victimized citizenry in a process of legitimating imaginary states of critical balance, reducing it to its critical, minimized form - approaching extinction - attenuating it to be dispersed like trembling molecules of information, nearly disbanded and dissolved.

a. Causality maximizes the role of stability.

b. Order is the force withstanding the accidental.

a. Chaos is the explanatory approach to the peculiar.

b. The accidental is the outflow from boredom’s stagnancy, the escape from the absoluteness of order.

The question that arises:
How is it possible to unite these two fundamentally opposite tractions - the exhumed neo-scientific randomness with the wanted banality of the needed; the scenery without a plot with the never-ending film classic?

About the Artist

Heiko Neumeister has worked with photography over a period of seven years.  He studied Art under the supervision of Johannes Brus, Matt Mullican and B. J. Blume, and has completed his first private exhibition on the year 2004.  Since then his passion has been absorbed by the immortalization of perplexed civic imagery with urban constructions, architectural features, the human role in society and the underestimated, redundant function of the environment being his models.

His pictures, seemingly casual, can trick the inexperienced viewer, leaving him with a barren, unfruitful impression, “this is everyday life” one may say, ignorant of their actual significance. From accidental events to casual settings to aligned actions and sequenced effects, the bizarre fashion of their power lies in the fact, that they are the epitome, the exact abridgement of these contradicting, everlasting urges.  They orchestrate impressively the sounds of the Brownian movement with the echoing nothingness of absolute zero. One by one, they depict the social machinations of necessity; while with their seeming randomness appear as a chaotic equation. Veracious expressions as they are, of his existentialist mind, they amalgamate the modern with the post-modern without any vivid re-appreciation of reality, without special techniques of a depictive amplification.



The triptych of Neumeister’s City

The city is represented as a social formation under a strict socialistic control, where the being is reduced to a gear of a causal, alienating ruling machination.  Where exploitation wears the colors of a state uniform and punishment takes place behind kitschy, thick, red brick-walls.  Where police officers perform exercises on the streets as a sign of domination and pedestrians keep their heads down, expressing submission or lack of any self-determination.

The city is pictured as a capitalistic organism with redundant parasitic functions of socialistic mimes.  A location where the working class struggles for social ascension, where multinational companies exchange services and products without significance and where the environment is wasted for the needs of a maximized production.

The city as a vast, dark playground, decentralized, emptied from life, radiating deterrence and forgetfulness.  Not a city anymore but a corpse of past social-interactions, a decadent finality of the function/dysfunction double.  A place where humans are satellized, exchanged for their absent doubles, where the accidental is the rule and where nature reclaims its previously seized fiefs.

Neumeister’s Buildings and Kafka’s dreams

The Building in Neumeister’s pictures has one basic function - separation. It acts as a barrier between environments, ideas, finances, needs, beliefs and hopes.  The building is a grey construction, a sublime formation for obedience and depression; a malevolent remnant of Bauhaus misconceptions.  A limitation of the gaze, a fragment in the continuity of an already cracked society, storage room (Abstellkammer) for the weak. It is a cave, worse than the ones of the Paleolithic era, where television is the god, while internet still has no place in life.  His buildings are alienating structures serving emotional detachment.  They are expressions of a non- or even anti-carceral system, where no transparency is demanded, where no one interests anyone, where life and death belong to some kind of televised twilight zone.  Every construction shares a common denominator under Kafka’s prism of comprehension.  They become ontologically and aesthetically unified.   They form a spiral process where the subject fades out dominated by the object; it is eliminated and erased by it.

Petite Bourgeoisie

Another detail, which is difficult to disregard when observing Neumeister’s pictures, is the deliberate, as mentioned, exclusion - the satellization - of the human factor.  It is as if his depicted macrocosm uses citizenry only as a factor in a linear dynamical process in the modern evolution of things.  People are represented as puppet-like figures trapped in the gears of social necessities.  They are portrayed silent, apathetic and mundane, stripped of any emotional response as tragic spectators of ineluctable events  – A machination of a rigid confidentiality between the ambience and the denizens.  There is no censorship, but a turgid ignorance of any spiritual action. Rephrasing Barthes ‘hand, blood, muscle are of no interest. Humanity is circumscribed, spirit and flesh have no longer any right to flow; detention becomes retention; without exercise, without communion, humanity becomes bloated, becomes a humdrum eunuch’.  Stiffness and oblivious inflexibility, only these are the products of this world. Workers and observers framed in Parmenides’ cosmos denoted by a model of materialistic socialism - The elucidation of the Petite Bourgeoisie –


Exemplified Works

1. (Hans-Albrecht-Square)

Is it a movie setting?

A postwar construction emitting capitalistic estrangement; shop-windows with transcontinental signs and promising advertisements; people who seem planted on their places.  Two workers both absorbed by something the viewer cannot see.  One appears worried, the other one pendular, as if considering a salto mortale due to disaffection.  Three mass consumers: a working class victim, a demented father and his tele-stylized son - A terrain of lassitude and apathy; topography of social castration.

2. (Bricks – Windowstarers)

What are they yearning for?  What is the purpose of their visual exploration?

The building separating lives - even the ones of the eyewitnesses - Supermarket clothing, a brick-wall facade, two symmetrically placed foramina for some kind of informational flow; a location of moist isolation.

Do they gaze something different than their own abandonment? Is not it a short but definite view through their future past? The windows deflect their curiosity back to themselves. They witness their own desolation. This is a re-appreciation of Giacomelli’s “Death will come and it will have your eyes”; it is the precursor of Pavese’s poem.

3. (British Telephone Pylon)

A city, which sleeps under the radiating certainty of not so modern technological wizardry; houses lined up next to each other securing organized lives; two humans, shadows of themselves, socially contributing to the functionality of the system; streets emptied from life. Is this the transition from modernism to post-modernism?  Where is the vigorousness of the urban streets?  Is it all lost under the extreme governmental suppression or more likely, is this -what Baudrillard names “the terror of balance”?

- Where alarm systems keep the offenders away and Internet access prevents flesh from exchanging odors –

This is Neumeister’s hierarchic vision:

Environment – technological society – modern caves of alienation – streets filled with parked cars – satellized citizenry – absent bodily interaction.

Final Program

It is the long-term memory what Heiko Neumeister targets with his imagery.  He does not wish so much to create a lucid but temporary impression, which will disappear from the visual cortex of the viewer as soon as his gaze will change its direction, but a permanent limbic, neuronal pattern, which will prompt feelings and evoke emotions.

“I am interested in the perplexity of structures and formations in urban architecture and photography, the causes, the ways and the effects of their interaction” he remarks.

His pictures urge the viewers to move, interact, re-humanize themselves and once again become particles of an active social system, rather than converting into the missing element belonging to a civic zone of erasure.  It is the final step of a loss process – realization - what he offers, and it is in the potential of every observer to make use of.  The absent bodies of city-dwellers, lost in the magnitudes of urban stupefaction are defined again and are given a second chance of a gregarious relocation - From J. L. Borges’ “Nostalgia for the present” to J. Kerouac’s “On the road”; from passivity to diligence, from forgetfulness to memory, from being nothing to an organized social system; This is the discrete spearhead of Neumeister’s imagery.