Heikedine Günther was born in East Westfalia in 1966. She grew up in a rural area surrounded by her large family. Nature and the domestic garden provided her playgrounds. When she was 16 years of age Günther met the charismatic artist Joseph Beuys in Kassel. She took part in the project 7000 Oak Trees at Documenta 7 in Kassel (1982). After leaving school she attended Manhattanville College in New York and then furthered her education at the HFBK in Hamburg studying under Werner Büttner and Franz Erhart Walther. Simultaneously she attended as a guest student in Kassel under Martin Kippenberger’s supervision.
1991, directly after the “turnaround”, the artist moved to Berlin. During her time there she worked in various creative areas and painted figuratively. In 2004 she painted her first imagination of her inner core. Until today Günther is dedicated to the topic of the core (self). In 2009 the artist moved to Switzerland, where she lives and works both in Basel and near Lucerne. In 2015 the artist decided to dedicate herself full time to art again and to bring the Kern as a universal symbol into the world. Günther has always worked artistically, but she felt the importance to bring the message of her work to the public. Especially in a hectic time like nowadays the return to the (inner) core is of a particular need. Since then, the artist has created hundreds of artworks and participated in a considerable number of exhibitions and art fairs in an international context. All her works are professionally archived. The artist herself is a collector of Tribal Art and silk Ikat textiles from Usbekistan and Russia. Besides Günther also engages herself with garden architecture-, furniture- and product design. The artist also brings together more than 20 years of knowledge about and work with medieval manuscripts and rare books.
Tell us about your nominated art piece for the Global Art Awards?
All of my Kern Paintings start with a gold-primed canvas ground that serves as a reflective surface, in the following process I apply three to seven layers of paint. The diptych "Kern No. 334, 335" displays two cores in a frame each. They are turned towards each other, but separated through the space in between the canvas. The cores represent the yearning for life and love, as well as the melancholy about separation. Water as a life-giving element takes up this symbol. The sky and the light stand for freedom, who rest over the yearning for life as an unbounded horizon. The diptych is painted with 21 different, hand-mixed blue tones that contain various oil colors and pigments. The blue of the sky and the sea is the color of unfathomability and infinity. Underneath the the blue, colors range from red to orange and deep violet.
How does it make you feel that you are a nominee for the Global Art Awards?
I am very happy and honoured to be nominated for the Global Art Awards. For me it is the personal breakthrough of a horizon to show my work in the United Arab Emirates.
How would you describe yourself? And your artwork? What drives you?
I am a German artist who lives and works in Switzerland. I devote myself with full energy and time to my art. In my work I explore the theme, symbol and form of the Kern (core). With the Kern and its inexhaustible potential to create an individual process of growth, the origin of life and the ever-recurring question of when and under which conditions this Kern begins to unfold. I am inspired by philosophy and history as well as by antique art, introducing the nimbus or the mandorla – a divine symbol – in my works. This sign can be found in all religions and cultures. I want the Kern to be seen as a universal symbol as same as I want to leave something behind that lasts longer than my life.
What is your definition of art?
"Art does not reflect the visible, but makes visible." (Paul Klee)
Where do you get your inspiration?
I take my inspiration from all religions and cultures of the world. As well as philosophy, science and nature. For example, I am fascinated by the Shiva Lingam stone from India, forms of solar systems, the Nimbus or the Mandorla, but also quite ordinary "natural" forms such as a potato, a rice grain or a bean.
Can you tell us what you have going on right now?
I work 8-10 hours a day in my studio. I paint pictures for exhibitions, gather materials for large projects, search for art historians and curators to write about my work. The next big project deals with the golden fleece, the Fur of Chrysomel from Greek mythology. I'm also interested in the connection between art and mathematics, so I'm currently developing a vector space with a sacral point on a mathematical basis.
Best Commissioned artwork ever done was…?
One of the biggest and well-known Mark Rothko collectors from the USA commissioned me to sell him some of my paintings. He immediately bought 5 works, although he had just seen one of them. I sent the paintings to the USA and he sent me in return pictures where you could see my works hanging on the wall in his house. That was a very overwhelming moment for me.
Best exhibition ever participated in…?
The best exhibition was my solo show at the Art Paris Art Fair at the Grand Palais Paris, where Switzerland was last year the guest of honor. My work could be seen in the renown Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper and in the Swiss Tagesschau news on TV.
Also, the fair resulted in a participation in a very well curated group exhibition at the CAC Meymac in France. There my works are still displayed until October.
Which are your favorite artists?
My favorite artists are Anish Kapoor, James Turrell and Anselm Kiefer.
Would love to exhibit my work in…
La Biennale di Venezia, documenta Kassel and Kochi-Muziris Biennale.