Heidi Wood

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You Win Some, You Lose Some, part of the series Serving Suggestion, 2001 Color Photograph Edition Of 5 40 X 50 Cm © Heidi Wood, courtesy Galerie Anne Barrault
Authentic New Mexico 1, 2007 Inkjet Print Edition Of 5 25 X 57.5 Cm © Heidi Wood, courtesy Galerie Anne Barrault
My School, Only Better 1, 2007 Inkjet Print Edition Of 5 30 X 50 Cm © Heidi Wood, courtesy Galerie Anne Barrault
Los Angeles 6, 2004-2005 Inkjet Print Edition Of 20 © Heidi Wood, courtesy Galerie Anne Barrault
exhibition view, week 2, Gallery Anne Barrault, 2008 © Heidi Wood, courtesy Galerie Anne Barrault
exhibition view, week 7, Gallery Anne Barrault © Heidi Wood, courtesy Galerie Anne Barrault
Fleur 2, 2012 Panneau D’Aluminium Zinc Avec Autocollant Réfléchissant Imprimé 85 Cm De Diamètre © Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Anne Barrault
Quick Facts
Birth year
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Works in
installation, modern, photography, conceptual

In the Heidi Wood case, the suspect is the painting.

The fact is that there is something suspicious today about abstract painting. Form, background, color, line, format and its frontal nature. We have come to the end of the road. These days, any new variation is no more than a quote. It already belongs in the public domain. Geometric abstraction has indeed become a universal language. Everyone reads it as a sign. Everyone recognizes its potential power as a logo, its ability to encapsulate a message and give the impression of a cryptic announcement. In an unexpected twist, abstract painting refers back to the very domains that appropriated it for the purpose of signage and, more generally, communication.

On the scale of the painting unit, Heidi Wood's work already strives to describe this phenomenon by playing with the shifting meanings of the motif painted on a monochrome background. The obviously spare composition, its extreme simplicity, its uncluttered readability give it an air of déja-vu that immediately introduces a sense of doubt or suspicion about the real status of the object that we are unable to situate precisely between abstract painting and road sign. During this initial phase of work, she sets the tone. Make no mistake, appearances work against the artwork here, utterly against it. The means of presentation adopted confirm the painting in its role as suspect. They deliberately resemble promotion strategies, reinforcing a sense of corruption. We must thus recognize them on a second level as simulations of an ideal, efficient serving suggestions and appealing presentation styles.

For her third exhibition with Anne Barrault, the artist, faithful to her mimetic approach, is putting on a sort of evolving showroom, like that of a small business wishing to familiarize its clientele with a wide range of services. From this perspective and in a subtle game of recycling and self-quotation, she associates completely new formulae with works appreciated in the past and updated here for the occasion. The demands of the public, always on the lookout for something new, will be more than satisfied by a weekly turnover throughout the exhibition. Between tradition and innovation (alias Heidi Wood's fiction), the art polishes its brand image.

And the image as a promise of an ideal is indeed Heidi Wood's stock and trade. The motif set in a given environment becomes image. The context generates and justifies the motif and vice versa. The artwork reveals itself in this occasional and specific interdependence. This is precisely what fascinates the artist, who has no illusions about the autonomy of the painting and even less about its durability. From now on, she will grant it a life expectancy of five years (when it reaches its use-by date, each painting will be destroyed unless it is spared through acquisition). Henceforth, all the material aspects of the artwork will be only simulations. And it is only in these terms that Heidi Wood plays with marketing strategies for them.

Philippe Coubetergues
September 2008


2008 Galerie Anne Barrault, Paris, date limite de consommation / use by date

2007 ESAD Amiens, Visitors’ Center
2007Galerie Frederic Desimpel, Bruxelles, Made to Order
2007 Lycée Galilée (avec le FRAC Ile-de-France), Cergy, Mon école en mieux

2006 Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Lyon

2005 Galerie Anne Barrault, Paris
2005 Crazy Space, Santa Monica, “Your Photo Here”

2003 Galerie Anne Barrault, Paris, “Planète Magique”
2003 Galleria Plastica, Bologna

2002 Espace d’art contemporain Camille Lambert, Juvisy-sur-Orge, “La Maison de banlieu”
2002 I.U.F.M. Paris

2001 éof, Paris, “Showroom”

2000, ‘98, ‘96 Stephen McLaughlan Gallery, Melbourne

1998 Australian Galleries, Sydney

1996 CBD Gallery inc., Sydney


2008  FRAC Poitou Charentes, Pièces à vivre

2006 FRAC Haute-Normandie, Welcome Home
2006 Galerie Anne Barrault, Paris, Grandes vacances

2005 Galerie des Terreaux, Lyon, Rendez-vous
2005 Abbaye Saint-André centre d’art contemporain, Meymac, " Le canard était toujours vivant "
2005 Centre photographique d’ile-de-France, Pontault Combault, " Trois et trois font… "
2005 Parker's Box,"I am 5", New York
2005 Raid Projects, Los Angeles, Not Worried

2004 FIAC, Galerie Anne Barrault
2004 Médiathèque Marguerite Yourcenar, Faches Thumésnil, with Claire Maugeais

2003 FIAC, Galerie Anne Barrault
2003 La Friche, Marseille, Cousu de fil blanc
2003 Le Plateau - FRAC Ile-de-France, " Voisinages "

2001 Galerie Anne Barrault, Paris, Cousu de fil blanc
2001 Galerie Chromosome, Berlin, Ironie und Alltag
2001 Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Tours, Quotidien aidé (les locataires)

2000 H du Siège, Valenciennes, Duo with Emmanuelle Villard

1999 Galerie éof, Paris, Dry Clean Only with Ulla Frantzen
1999 200 Gertrude Street, Melbourne, Dry Clean Only
1999 Stephen McLaughlan Gallery, Melbourne, Recycling Abstraction
1999 Galerie éof, Paris, éclats

1998 Atelier sur l’autoroute, Saint-Denis, Sept d’un coup
1998 Melbourne Contemporary Art Fair
1998 Heartless, Paris, Deux ou trois choses que je sais d’elles

1997 Sherman Galleries, Goodhope, Anon
1997 Australian Galleries, Melbourne, Sydney, Non Objective Presence

FRAC Ile-de-France, FRAC Haute Normandie, Artothèque Limousin, Artbank Australia

2005 Residency, Centre Photographique d’Ile-de-France, Pontault-Combault
2004 Residency at 18th Street Arts Complex, Los Angeles, Australia Council
2004 Public commission, IUT Blagnac
2003 First exhibition grant, Centre national des arts plastiques (Fiacre)
2002 Project Grant, Direction des Affaires Culturelles de la Ville de Paris
Commission for 10 photographs by design agency Unitzone Ltd. for Cristal Union
Commission for 6 photographs, I.U.F.M., Paris
2001 Project grant Australia – France Foundation
1998 Ensb-a, Paris, graduate grant
1988 Queen Elizabeth Silver Jubilee Trust Fund

BIBLIOGRAPHY (selection)
Raya Baudinet, Art Press, July 2003
Alexandre Bohn, Art Press, December 2002
Fabienne Fulchéri, Suzie Attiwill, catalogue La maison de banlieue, 2002
Philippe Coubetergues, “Get the Picture” catalogue IUFM de Paris, 2002
Frank Lamy, “A Possible Side Dish”, catalogue Serving Suggestions, 2001
Stephen Wright “Irony and Kitsch”, catalogue Duo, 2000
Frank Lamy, Zara Stanhope, catalogue Dry Clean Only, 1999

1992-1995 Ecole nationale supérieure des beaux-arts, Paris, DNSAP, atelier Claude Viallat
1985-1987 Victoria College, Prahran, Melbourne, Bachelor of Arts, printmaking

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