Stefanie Heinze Interviews Stefanie Heinze

Stefanie Heinze Interviews Stefanie Heinze

For her second New York show, Berlin-based artist Stefanie Heinze debuts at Petzel Gallery with Frail Juice. Featuring six paintings — all from 2020 — and four drawings, the solo exhibition intends to "explore the dissolution of historical norms and the paradoxes that arise when investigating power structures," according to a release.

Heinze, who pairs collaged drawings with paintings, creates work that could at first look like surreal, colorful landscapes. But its contents are much more complex. The art featured in Frail Juice, specifically, looks to piece together small, banal objects — canaries, puppies, professors, dicks — and offer abstractions of everyday life.

The result is something of a weird dream, with elements of déjà vu — a scene that's entirely foreign, though it features shapes, colors and memories that are all too familiar. She finishes with something grand, while its parts are often considered minor and therefore overlooked. "Heinze asks us to explore the strength that lies within fragility," Petzel's release continues.

Below, Stefanie Heinze interviews herself about everything from the color yellow to Berghain. Frail Juice is open at Petzel Gallery, now through November 7.

Courtesy of Stefanie Heinze and Petzel, New York

Can you describe yourself in 2.0 words?

Baby Granny.

What is the best way someone has described you before?

Gisela Capitain called me a cute little Pitbull.

Stefanie, are your expressive eyebrows real?

Yes, they are, I painted them!

Courtesy of Stefanie Heinze and Petzel, New York

Stefanie Heinze
Soft Becomings, 2020
Oil and acrylic on canvas
72.83 x 59.06 x 1.77 inches 185 x 150 x 4.5 cm
(SH 20/005)

What are your Big 3?

Sun in Gemini, Capricorn Rising and Moon in Cancer.

Why is yellow your favorite color?

For being both annoying and friendly, the most in your face. It's for sure the worst color to start a painting with.

What is something you think people don't know about you?

They are puzzled to hear that I've never been to Berghain to party.

Courtesy of Stefanie Heinze and Petzel, New York

Stefanie Heinze
Innerspring, 2020
Oil and acrylic on canvas Diptych
86.75 x 110.25 inches 220 x 280 cm
each 86.75 x 55 inches 220 x 140 x 3 cm
(SH 20/001)

What painting topic bores you the most?


What questions do people love to ask you about your work?

If they "Are allowed to see what they see?"

They ask if they see dick. Or if I see the same.

And if there is any available.

What compelled you to start painting?

I have a very clear early memory of an Easter morning when I was four years old. Sitting at the living room table on a nice sunny day, I saw my father making a drawing on an egg. I thought, "I wanna be able to do that too!" He was a good drawer, but mainly a police officer in GDR times who lost his job after the wall went down. He disappeared soon after and I never heard from him again.

Courtesy of Stefanie Heinze and Petzel, New York

Stefanie Heinze
Third Date, 2020
Oil and acrylic on canvas
78.74 x 51.18 x 1.18 inches 200 x 130 x 3 cm
(SH 20/003)

How long do you work on a painting?

Usually the painting knows better than me. It's teamwork for deadlines, but generally we really don't like being pushed.

What's your favorite painting from the Petzel show?

If I have to choose one it would be Third Date or Innerspring or No! or Soft Becomings, maybe even A Hollow Place in A Solid Body or Der Professor.

What do you currently struggle with?

Not being able to attend my own exhibition in New York, winter in Germany, and not living with either a cat or a dog.

Courtesy of Stefanie Heinze and Petzel, New York

Stefanie Heinze
A Hollow Place in a Solid Body, 2020
Oil and acrylic on canvas Diptych
86.75 x 110.25 inches 220 x 280 cm
each 86.75 x 55 inches 220 x 140 x 3 cm
(SH 20/002)

What were other potential titles for your current solo show at Petzel Gallery that you didn't let into the finals?

High Potency Brood

Detachable Tails

The Unmansplainable

Para Pet

Soft Becomings

Powerless Nap

I'm very pleased how our display of double-sided drawings in our show FRAIL JUICE worked out. Can you explain your drawing process?

I draw while on airplanes or sitting on a park bench or while watching TV. I take these notebooks with me. I draw from what's immediate, profane or just coming from the unconscious. If I have a lemon in mind, it will come about. Or if there's an eye and I cover it with something else, it's going to be something else — I cross it out and so on. I use all sides of the sheets in the notebooks, cut them out, maybe collage them. Both sides of the paper work equally as front and backside, of course. With the layering of paper and ink sucking through, these double-sided BBs tease each other in a gentle way. Then I transfer them to large-sized canvases knowing that translation errors will occur. But funnily enough, to redraw on canvas makes me realize how much I forgot; it's like retracing my thoughts.

What is the weirdest impact that COVID-19 restrictions have had on your everyday life?

I like to watch more movies these days, like old black-and-white ones. When I see more than two people in a room, I catch myself thinking: DON'T!

Okay, two last questions! What are you currently reading and what are you about to read?

Females by Andrea Long Chu and How to Mend: Motherhood and Its Ghosts by Īmān Mirsāl .

Portrait courtesy of Elizabeth Claire Herring/ Photos courtesy of Stefanie Heinze and Petzel, New York