Isabell Heimerdinger

Year of birth, place
1963, Stuttgart, Germany

In her photography and installations, Isabell Heimerdinger plumbs the borders between authenticity and simulation, fiction and reality, the artificial and the genuine. At the center of her artistic work stand the world of cinema and the medium of film. For some years Heimerdinger has been more intensely occupied with the figure of the actor and the medial staging thereof. Here, she thematizes the dialectic of the pose and "real" expression, of role and identity, emotion and imitation.

In Isabell Heimerdinger’s photographic, filmic, and installative studies, there are often moments of irritation, through which we are – subtly – made aware of our habits of seeing, and we begin to question them. What appears to be real or authentic at first glance proves at closer examination to be a construct, or even a deception. The lamp, for example, in the work "Eclipse" (2001) appears to alight itself; only at a second glance does it become noticeable that the lamp is illuminated by a spotlight. Heimerdinger uses here the technology of film and theater to refer to the optical construction of the projection, which is also the basis of the film and photography media. 

The series "Interiors" (1997–2000) shows sets of popular films from the 1950s through the 1980s. The rooms, void of people, evoke the uncanny atmosphere of the film set and thus showcase the staging of the filmic space through the light direction and viewing angle. This allows Heimerdinger to analyze the psychological manipulation through the means of film. With this ambivalence between the fascination for cinema and the exposure of its mechanisms, Isabell Heimerdinger’s works challenge observers to reflect on the medium of film and the ever-present Hollywood culture.