“So now I am alone in the world, with no brother, neighbor or friend, nor any company left me but my own… Detached as I am from them and from the whole world, what am I? This must now be the object of my inquiry.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Reveries of a Solitary Walker, 1782
Previously belonging to the young Swiss avant-garde and living in Aargau, Heiner Kielholz (b.1942) has withdrawn from public life and exhibits infrequently, living in somewhat isolation in the Valle di Poschiavo. He attended the arts and crafts school in Zurich (1962–63), later forming the Ziegelrain studio (1967–1972) artistic community. His time in the Ziegelrain community was widely experimental, experimenting with the picture plan and perception, his work was abstract, optical, large, and often monochromatic.
After the dissolution of the studio community, his work changed. It became smaller, reflective of his immediate environment, fleeting moments in delicate subdued colours. Painted in 2019, this untitled work by Kielholz feels timeless, a meditation on the subtle shifts in light and colour enhancing our perception of everyday experience, a sense of silence and solitude felt in the rendering of a single sized bed. Now living seclusion in the Valle di Poschiavo, his work has concentrated on the immediate surroundings of his home environment. Keilholz’s work often draws parallels to the work and life of equally reclusive writer Robert Walser, and their shared appreciation for the subtle, everyday things in life and their oscillating interests between the internal and external world.
What was for so long before my eyes,
what made me cheer up, and yet what
could not calm me, nature,
will very soon be far, far outside.
I will do without it and with delight
sing the praise of its brilliance, this earsplitting
of sounds and colors. Somehow
I will miss it and so redouble my love,
as if it were still a riddle to me.
It's beautiful everywhere,
as long as we see beauty from within ourselves.
Don't listen to false insistence.
Something you enshrine will always be with you.
Oppressive Light: Selected Poems by Robert Walser (Black Lawrence Press, 2012)