Interior is exterior is interior.
About the work of Heidi Mühlschlegel


Heidi Mühlschlegel works as such figuratively. Her moppets remind us of animals, children, human beings, dwarfs or other humanoid figures. As puppets they belong aswell to the humanoid inhabited sphere as to dead material.
The puppet functions as physical counterpart and psychic projection surface. That´s it´s basic fetish like nature.

Heidi Mühlschlegel lets her figures take form layer by layer. Fabrics, clothes, cotton wool, colours, applications, but also all imaginable other objects as wooden boxes or the like form the body little by little. By this means an agglomerate of the largest heterogeneity possible comes into existence without clearly defined outlines , often without precise boundary between interior and exterior, which nevertheless remains figure and form.
Often the view can break through the figure´s interior and lets the shallows of it´s inner life come forward. The applied coating colour is also anything but a homogenous closing coat or permanent skin but penetrates the texture, crumbles off, tears open, mingles with the other material to a heterogenous mixture which is inhered in something dirty, like a carnival´s costume which mingles with a clown´s face paint and has taken it´s sweet odour. Not only the puppetish character of her figures but also the breaking open of the surface is the strange side of her work like Hannah Arendt has defined: the interior, the bowels of human beings should not be seen. One associates the suspended donkey on American children´s birthday parties which is stuffed with candy and gets  beaten with a cane until it´s  covering bursts open and the interior comes forward.
The opulence of material forms the basis of Heidi Mühlschlegel´s high degree of economy. The used fabrics, pearls, colours, sequins, glittering varnish are often finds, remnants from the flea market or they are gifts.
The material has a certain impact on the looks of the object.

At the same time the versatile applications are an independent issue – the bows, pearls and glittering varnish belong to a shared, feminine connoted semantic sphere.
The recurrent horse or pony theme also lets a stereotype girlish iconography appear which is anything else but mere trash or ironic comment. Heidi Mühlschlegel´s choice of issues motifs, material is in fact determined by a very individual personal approach which in the end draws from own experience and emotion. The rigorous transformations to which she subjects these issues to disavow them from any romaticism.
Her personal iconography can be reconstructed especially in the oil and acrylic paintings. These are also made in many layers, often on patterned fabric or tagged with set applications, and so they suit the patchwork buildup of the figures, although they leave  an unequally cleaner mark as impression because the colours here coexist undiffused and pure. The spotted colour application and colour combination have in fact a certain similarity with the early paintings of Kandinsky. The figures and settings which arise in these pictures are also borrowed by personal experience, dreams and mementos. A fabulous atmosphere develops, a colourful world in between, which expresses itself more positive in the paintings than in the objects. Both, painting and figures, Heidi Mühlschlegel combines with narrative and atmospheric densely installations.

Daniela Stöppel, 2009


Translation: Barbara Breen, München