Once again Sebastian Heiner journeyed to the Far East to paint. From 2004 till 2008 he maintained a studio in Beijing as well as in Berlin. Soon artists, curators and gallery owners living in China’s capital started to take notice of him. At the end of his duration, works Sebastian made in China were shown in Beijing and in Germany in highly acclaimed solo exhibitions.
According to Hermann Hesse “some books cannot be read. Parts of the Bible are among these unreadable books, as well as the Tao-te-king. One sentence fromthese books is enough to keep anyone occupied for quite some time, pondering its contents.
Sebastian Heiner is an individualist, which is a rare occurrence in the contemporary art market. With great severity, Heiner commits to an authentic thoroughbred painting. Though the artist works in phases, once in abstract gestures, another time depictive, his individuality remains apparent.
“My thought always brings me further and further… I must drive it back, or I will be detainded in Beijing for too long time”, Sebastian Heiner writes in a Christmas card far from Berlin. Its Beijing, the vigorous, adventurous and strange metropolis with a population of more than ten millions that keeps lingering in his mind.
The history of painting is often no less suspensful than an exciting historical novel. From the very beginning with prehistoric cave paintings to the strictly iconographic rules of the middle ages, from the blossoming of modernity and on to the battles waged among historicism, naturalism and impressionism in the ninetheenth centrury – all this ultimately leads in the twentieth century to the unleashing of pure paint.
Ever since I was a six year old I visited Willi Heiner’s studio. Artist’s studios such as his are alluring not only to kids. Strange objects that have been collected and stacked up over time, bizarre newspaper articles and reproductions, weird smells of oil paints and turps mixed with a black cigarette’s strong smell bedazzle the onlooker.
In the summer of 2005, by chance, I was introduced to Sebastian Heiner by Ling Jian, a Chinese artist living in Germany. Heiner extended a warm invitation fo my wife and me to visit his studio in Suojiacun. When entering his studio, we were stunned by the sight of a large pile of used paint tubes, tissue paper, fly swatters, mops and comps, things that are onmipresent in a farm produce market. We had visited many studios before, but none was in such a mess. The foremost impression on me was “madness”.