2016 Portland Biennial

The sculptures and photographs in Heidi Schwegler’s exhibition reverse industrial production, painstakingly recreating durable, mass-produced stuff into fragile, unique works of glass, porcelain and gold. Even when elevated to heroic new materials and placed on white walls and pedestals, the forms retain the aurae of their original surroundings and of the people who tossed them. Schwegler approaches discarded objects as investigations into overlapping ideas of mortality, consumption and coping mechanisms, often finding in them beauty and disquieting humor. By presenting transformations of consumer goods in unexpected materials, Schwegler seeks to create a new relationship between viewers and the mundane objects that she refers to as “intermediaries of human desire.”

“I am going toward violence rather than tenderness, hell rather than heaven, ugly rather than beautiful, impure rather than pure – because by doing these things they become transformed, and we become transformed.”
— John Cage, interview in the New Yorker, 1976

Photographer: Mario Gallucci