Jeppe Hein

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Jeppe Hein
Born 1974
Copenhagen, Denmark
Nationality Danish
Education Royal Danish Academy of Art (1997-2003)
Städelschule (1999-2000)
Known for Sculpture and installation
Appearing Rooms by Jeppe Hein, water fountains at the South Bank Centre, London.

Jeppe Hein (born 1974, Copenhagen, Denmark) is an artist based in Berlin and Copenhagen.[1] Hein is widely known for his production of experiential and interactive artworks that can be positioned at the junction where art, architecture, and technical inventions intersect. Notable in their formal simplicity and frequent use of humor, his sculptures and installations engage in a lively dialogue with the traditions of Minimalism and Conceptual art of the 1970s. Hein’s works often feature surprising and captivating elements which place spectators at the centre of events and focus on their experience and perception of the surrounding space.


Hein studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Art between 1997 and 2003 and at the Städelschule in Frankfurt between 1999 and 2000 (while registered as an associate student of the Danish Academy). As a student Hein was co-founder of OTTO, a non-commercial organisation which organised art exhibitions at various venues in Denmark between 1997 and 2000.[1][2]


His works include labyrinths in various media including mazes made of mirrors (Spiral Labyrinth (2006) and Rotating Labyrinth (2007)) or motion-triggered sound (Invisible Cube (2004) and Invisible Labyrinth (2005)) and sculptures that refuse to be static: they emit smoke and fire (Smoking Bench (2003) and Burning Cube (2005)), or are programmed to vibrate or move when approached (Independent Pedestal (2002), 360° Presence (2002) and Shaking Cube (2004)).[3]

Other works deal with the viewer's perception of the gallery space. In Moving Bench #2 (2000), museum seating is programmed when sat upon to carry the visitor the length of the gallery space.[4] Changing Space (2003) is a wall that slowly moves through the gallery room. The movement is too slow to perceive at first glance, but is noticed more and more as the wall are closing in on the spectator. The white surface blends perfectly in with the surrounding walls, placing the work in a cross point between sculpture, architecture and installation art.[5] Field of Visions (2005) is a six-angled box mounted on a steel structure. On each of the six sides, a hole is cut out for the visitor to look into. Contrary to what instinct suggests, the viewers are not able to see through to the opposite hole. A mirror has, in fact, been placed diagonally inside the box, so that the viewer instead looks out of the holes on the left or right of him or her.[6] Distance (2004) is a site-specific installation that relates directly to the architectural configuration of a space. As a modular design using steel tracks it is assembled to run through the entire building and/or the exhibition space. When a visitor enters the space, a sensor reacts and releases a ball which is set in motion and runs the length of the track, passing loopings, sharp curves and other dynamic sections within the 800-meter-long circuit. At first, the visitor follows the white plastic ball on its route, but as multiple visitors trigger a new ball every 15 seconds, one soon loses track of one’s own ball and starts experiencing the whole architecture as a moving and dynamic structure. 360° Illusion III (2007) consists of two rectangular mirrors that intersect at a right angle and rotate slowly around a central axis The piece is installed above visitors’ heads and the gradual movement provides the viewer with alternating perspectives of the space as they are constantly juxtaposed within the mirrored surfaces. The right angle causes a duplicate reflection, as both mirrors reflect not only the space but also each other, creating the disorienting effect that the spectators and objects are rotating along with the mirrors. Although the viewers remain standing, their reflections gradually turn from upside-down to rightside-up. This illusion induces not only a vague feeling of dizziness but also a latent distrust of one’s own eyes and spatial perception.

Hein has created a series of Modified Social Benches: Modified Social Bench C (2007) is entirely circular, with the seating beyond easy reach on the inside; the seat of Modified Social Bench A (2006) is jacked up on a hydraulic spring and needs to be pushed down if one is to sit down. The functional surface of Modified Social Bench E (2006) looks as though it has melted and drooped onto the ground.[7] During the summer of 2009, Hein placed ten of these benches throughout the city of Aarhus.[8] Envisioned as one long bench that emerges from the ground, twists, turns and submerges again, and forming a circuit around a lake, Bench Around the Lake is a series of 15 vivid yellow benches along the bordering bank of the White River.[3] Currently, a Long Modified Bench is on view in front of the Exploratorium in San Francisco. Other benches are permanently located in, among others, the Montenmedio Sculpture Park, Cadiz, Spain, Camp Reinsehlen, Schneverdingen, Germany and Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tamaki, New Zealand.

Since 2006, Hein's Appearing Rooms, an aquatic pavilion, is installed at London's South Bank outside the Royal Festival Hall during summer, enclosing visitors behind walls of water that rose and fell at random.[9] Other water pavilions are permanently installed at Rijkmuseum Amsterdam; Place Lapérouse, Albi, France; Forrest Place Perth, Western Australia; KUNSTEN -Museum for Modern Art Aalborg, Denmark; Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen, Germany; Lorient, France and Leeuwenborgh College Maastricht, The Netherlands.

In 2008, he collaborated with Dan Graham on a temporary pavilion in Cologne.[10]

At Houghton Hall in Norfolk, the Marquess of Cholmondeley commissioned an "artlandish" folly in a scale appropriate for a five-acre walled garden.[11] Hein created a site-specific outdoor sculpture for this space. In all seasons, this jet of water surmounted by a ball of flame illustrates a 21st-century folly on a smaller scale than other contemporary land art pieces in the parkland outside the garden enclosure.[12] The work is intended "to surprise viewers and make them question what they are seeing."[11] Hein wants to elicit

"... an incongruous dialogue between the art and the viewer and to use humour to broaden the limits of conceptual art. I want to show that the work isn’t anything on its own, it is only what the public informs it with. The viewers’ role brings the piece to the centre of attention."[11]

Between September 2009 and January 2010, Hein stayed at Alexander Calder’s studio in Saché, France, as a part of an artist in residence programme.[13]

Karriere Bar[edit]

Hein is co-founder of Karriere Bar, a bar and restaurant in Copenhagen featuring site-specific artworks by international artists,[14] which he founded with his sister Lærke Hein.[15]


Hein has had solo exhibitions at the Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm (2013), at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (2011); the Neues Museum, Nürnberg (2010); Indianapolis Museum of Art (2010);[16] Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (2010); ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Aarhus (2009);[17] Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2009); Sculpture Center, New York (2007);[18] Barbican Art Centre, London (2007);[19] Statens Museum for Konst (2006); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2005); and P.S.1 MOMA,[20] New York (2004). He has participated in several group exhibitions at RMN, Grand Palais, Paris (2013); Kunsthalle Wien (2012); Arken Museum of Modern Art, Ishøj (2012); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2010); Tate Liverpool (2009); ICA Boston (2008); Tate Modern, London (2007);[21] MOCA, Los Angeles (2005); and 50th Venice Biennale (2003). Major commission work projects include Hide and see(k) - Water Pavilion Rijkmuseum Amsterdam (2013); Encircle, Place Lapérouse, Albi (2013); Appearing Rooms Forrest Place Perth (2012); Water Pavilion KUNSTEN -Museum for Modern Art Aalborg (2011); Long Modified Bench Auckland, Auckland Art Gallery (2011); Follow Me, Bristol University (2009).

Catalogues of Hein's work have been published by Bonniers Konsthall and Wanås Konst (2013); 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (2011); ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum (2009); Musée d'art contemporain de Nîmes (2007) and Koenig Books (2006).

Jeppe Hein is represented by Johann König in Berlin, 303 Gallery in New York, Galleri Nicolai Wallner in Copenhagen and SCAI - The Bathhouse in Tokyo.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Johann Koenig, Berlin. "Biography at Johann König". Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  2. ^ OTTO
  3. ^ a b Jeppe Hein, Bench Around the Lake (2010) Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis.
  4. ^ Jeppe Hein, Invisible Moving Wall (2001) Tate Collection.
  5. ^ Jeppe Hein: Presenting/Representing, May 2 - June 28, 2003 Nicolai Wallner Gallery, Copenhagen.
  6. ^ Jeppe Hein: Field of Visions (2005) Phillips de Pury & Company.
  7. ^ Morgan Falconer, Jeppe Hein at Sculpture Center Frieze, Issue 111, Nov-Dec 2007.
  8. ^ JEPPE HEIN: SENSE CITY, October 9, 2009 - February 23, 2010 ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum.
  9. ^ Jeppe Hein Sculpture Center, New York.
  10. ^ Dan Graham and Jeppe Hein: From Seriousness to Silliness, August 30 - October 18, 2008 Galerie Johnen + Schöttle, Cologne.
  11. ^ a b c McCarthy, Anna. "Focus on Jeppe Hein," Houghton Hall Education Newsletter, January 2009, p. 3.
  12. ^ Donald, Caroline. "The new garden at Houghton Hall, King’s Lynn, Norfolk," The Times (London). May 11, 2008.
  13. ^ Jeppe Hein: Residency from September 2009 to January 2010 Atelier Calder.
  14. ^ "Karriere – the Artists". Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  15. ^ "Karriere – the People". Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  16. ^ Jeppe Hein: Distance, May 7 - September 5, 2010 Indianapolis Museum of Art.
  17. ^ Sense City[dead link]
  18. ^ Jeppe Hein: Illusion, September 9 - November 25, 2007 SculptureCenter, Long Island City.
  19. ^ "Distance". Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  20. ^ Jeppe Hein: Flying Cube, March 14 - May 10, 2004 MoMA PS1.
  21. ^ "Rotating Labyrinth". Retrieved 2014-04-08. 

External links[edit]