The Russian artist Kandinsky was fascinated by the mysterious force and universal context of geometric objects. He worked in his theoretical texts "Über das geistige in der Kunst" from 1912 on the spirituality in art, and in 1926 he published the book "Punkt und Linie zu Fläche" at the Bauhaus School.
Kandisky worked with what the French philosopher Michel Henry calls "absolute subjectivity" or "absolute phenomenological life." In fact Kandinsky attaches values to his geometric shapes and colours by tirelessly observing how the moods, feelings and associations of his creations on the canvas expres themselves.
In a similar manner, Hanne Helms’ images evoke reminiscents of moods and feelings. In her work no figuration is recognized that can give us a clue about narrative and content. Instead, the paintings are tightly built up in a systematics of lines that cross each other, are held together by hubs, balance and break up. The colours are used compositionally and keep the shapes onto the canvas, or they take care that he shapes and lines actually disappear far beyond the surface.
With Kandinsky’s studies of shape and colour and their relationship to the canvas in mind, we can attribute significance to Helms' form elements depending on the cultural and personal baggage we carry with us in the meeting with her pictures. But as Michel Henry says, the individual meeting and experience with art is always deeply subjective. Perhaps hereafter we can negotiate a common experience of Hanne Helms' works anyway?
When you look at the evolution of Helms' work it beats you immediately that there is a cult of rigor. The works are an antithesis to the American abstract expressionism with its big gestures and the clear presence of the artist (as minimalists found spurious). Helms' works, however, are almost industrial in their precision.
In her recent paintings Hanne Helms has loosened up the "dogma" of tightness and large expanses of thinly applied paint goes in and plays along with the open and closed structures created by the broad lines. The works are looser and freer with the paint transparency, and the industrial terms have now been replaced by a more open reflection. Helms says "In my universe, I now increasingly describe the imprints and construction of life, where I used to occupy myself much more with construction from a mechanical and functional point of view".
And this is where we will find the relevance to the present that these works possess. The paintings clearly show that they are a part of a larger reality. It is obvious that the paintings are intended, as a part of something bigger. They are not enough in themselves, but are related to a larger community outside the picture plane. There is a focus on some connections , on some structures or on some jumps from one living environment to another, which means that we can relate to Helms' abstraction of human interaction and organisation of human life.
One of the many levels on which the paintings can be read, according to Kandinsky´s work with attributing shapes and colors different values, is the timeliness they offer simultaneously. In the underlining of the fragmented world - to insist on being part of something bigger - exactly that allows us to reflect on the great reality and the universal context.
Christina Wilson, 2015