‘Soul of the Cities’, Hedy Maimann’s newest project
Hedy Maimann, artist from Vienna, who had an exhibition in Amsterdam in 2014 in Arps Gallery, is working on a new project, ‘Souls of the Cities’. She transforms the energies of cities into human portraits. It will be shown in Bruges, Belgium, in the Oud St. – Jan Museum in September 2017.
We asked Hedy some explanatory information. What exactly does the project involve?
Hedy Maimann: “Soul of the cities was born out of an inspirational moment realizing that I am able to transform energies into pictures. This is a vibrational universe as science knows. And what we actually always do is interpreting vibrations, be it colour, words, music, whatever.“
“I had this idea after being in Paris and being enchanted by its very specific charme, out of curiosity, asking myself how would Paris look if it would be a person. So I sat down and just did it. It came easily to me even though during painting I did some corrections - it was like a makeover for the City of Paris. Then I started to do other cities and by doing so I found out what a deeper meaning the whole project had.“
“You see we live in a world nowadays that likes to digitalize everything, a very technical world, a world that even tries to merge humans with machines, not honoring and ankowledging life and its infinite capacities without technical devices. Not many understand the wisdom of the universe, not many want us to understand it and I do not know how many are searching to understand it.“
“There is an incredible alienation from true life itself ongoing and furthered by this extreme technical evolution. It is praised by some as something good and inevitable but I want to remind you that it is made and promoted by human beings who always can decide if they do like it or not. It is not fallen from the sky and where it furthers Alienation from life it is totally out of balance and going into a direction of lifelesness.“
“These painitings have also the intention to show that there is life everywhere, that we should be aware that our cities give us a place to be, to feel at home and shelter us. That they are kept alive and conscious through us, through our thoughts, emotions, feelings, spirituality and deeds.“
“I wanted to show their amazing beauty, different character, their special uniqueness to keep in mind life itself and to protect the beauty of the cities and those buildings and places that were built in ancient times with the geomantic wisdom or feng- shui wisdom in the right places in a harmonic way to support us when we are tired and stressed.“
“They were built by people who had in mind this wisdom and not only their architectural success. Cities are so important.We should honor them because they give us a home where we can or could feel really good.“
What’s the big difference between for example Vienna and Amsterdam?
“I can tell you what I see looking at Amsterdam and Vienna- and yes they are very different. But my view might be also very different from the view of others as everyone has its own perception and point of view so you might see something different than me.“
“Amsterdam has this light, pastel tones. I would say it has to do with the clear light more in the north. She looks very serious what I had not expected knowing Amsterdam but maybe she reminds me a mother watching over her children. Maybe she is a little concerned about the huge amount of water around her - she wanted to have all the lines representing the water and she looks a little bit like a strong tree sheltering the people in the city with all her power.“
“Vienna looks friendly, kind of relaxed but strong woman. She has totally different colours than Amsterdam, very much the colours of the Austrian flag. What I saw only finishing the work and looking from far made me laugh as she carries like a hat whole Austria on her head. What they have in common – they are both female. Most cities are like I guess in the grammar of most European languages but I have also some male cities that seemingly are dominated by more male energies like Paris, Jerusalem , Barcelona and Lisboa.“
When exactly ist he exhibition and can you name a few of the other cities?
“I will expose these paintings in a show in Bruges, Belgium starting the 6th of September, for two or three weeks, in the Oud Sint-Jan Museum. I will expose 23 paintings, I have done allready the following cities: Paris, Roma, Barcelona, Lisboa, Amsterdam, Berlin, Wien, Sofia, Kopenhavn, Oslo, Zürich, St. Petersburg, Jerusalem, Brügge and Bruxelles.“
Do you have any plans for other projects?
“My next project will most probably be a remake in a different way of a book that I had painted and written in 2001 about peace and that is called „The Art of Peace“. As time goes by I want to do another version with other paintings. This book is about the way to reach peace. And containes 22 paintings about peace.“
“But at that time I took as an example the near east conflict also because there are so nice landscapes and some wisdom in the old scriptures there. Meanwhile I prefer to go more general, also in the paintings not taking something from a conflicting area. So mostly I would like to do new paintings about this topic and new texts about peace- eventually a totally new book.“
“Remaining in the topic of peace and life I would like to share one story: I was once in Madrid in the Museo Reina Sofia where I saw the famous painting Guernica from Picasso, which is impressing and impressingly huge but what impressed me the most and made my heart sing was not the painting but a whole bunch of little kids sitting on the floor and observing the painting - they were like a fresh breeze,sweeping away the horror of war and aggression and bringing in a new and innocent perception. They were like the symbol of invincible life the kind of life that I intent to show in my paintings.“
Images: 1) Amsterdam/Amstel, 2) Vienna, 3) Roma, 4) Barcelona, 5) Paris, 6) Kobenhavn, 7) Berlin, 8) Lisboa, 9) Oslo, 10) Hedy Maimann