PHILIPPE COUBETERGUES, 2007
Catalogue article - Heidi Wood 2001 - 2007
Heidi Wood: a Coming Soon service provider
The service provided by Heidi Wood is a concept that has been refined over the years to consolidate into a completely original reference in the field of representation 1. It is a simple, efficient and reliable concept that in short consists of making images using motifs elaborated for and destined to be inscribed in a given environment 2. The service provided by Heidi Wood targets a wide audience because it concerns every person or situation, sponsor or spectator, liable to be confronted with the problematic controls and corruptions of the image in his/her real environment. More than a painting to be hung, the service provided by Heidi Wood is an image to defend; more than a result, it is a suggestion, a projection. In this sense, the service provided by Heidi Wood should be seen as an imminent ideal that is Coming Soon.
Description of the service provided 3
The Coming Soon service provided by Heidi Wood is a suggestion formulated in various modalities that change and come together to suit the case at hand: photography, installation, montage, arrangement, etc. However complete this formulation is, it can only be appreciated as a simulation, in anticipation 4.
Description of the suggested service 5
The service suggested by Heidi Wood's Coming Soon is an improvement of the visible, an enhancement of the setting using a graphic system for which the Heidi Wood brand is sole agent 6. The service offered includes the design and fabrication of motifs based on contextual data and their real or simulated, permanent or temporary inscription in this same context.
Description of the product provided
The product attached to the Coming Soon service provided by Heidi Wood is a composed image or series of images that anticipates the suggested service 7. These images include motifs from Heidi Wood's graphic range. This anticipation is only one possible occurrence of the service. Other spin-offs from the project may accompany the images and their presentation 8.
Product exclusivity and protection
The Coming Soon service provided by Heidi Wood guarantees the exclusivity of the product in that each suggested attribution of the motif is original. Furthermore, once assigned to a given context, the motif is considered definitively allotted to this initial and unique usage 9.
Patent and author's rights
In essence and nature, the Heidi Wood brand as graphic line and original service is patented. It is also impossible to forge because it is embedded in the qualified context 10. Counterfeiting is out of the question due to the coded system of the motif, the secret of which is known only to Heidi Wood's design department. The author's rights inherent in the prescribed use of a motif are in no way transferable to other usages in other contexts 11.
While in essence it concerns all audiences, the Coming Soon service provided by Heidi Wood nonetheless targets people or situations, owners or managers of a given space who are concerned with the image projected by the architectural and decorative configuration of this space. More specifically, the Coming Soon service provided by Heidi Wood targets functional, modernist spaces, often impregnated with a formalist esthetic derived from 20th century abstract and geometric painting. The Coming Soon service provided by Heidi Wood tends to reveal this underlying inspiration, which is nonetheless decisive in terms of brand image. It aims to reaffirm this origin of the image while enhancing the prestige of its use 12.
Advantages of the corporate concept
The Coming Soon service provided by Heidi Wood enterprises presents original advantages over the competition already working in the decorative representation market. The attribution of a motif, far from being arbitrary, is directly linked here to the visual specificity of the context, making the motif efficient and perfectly practicable in terms of place enhancement and image affirmation. The motif is also determined in an implicit reference to the history of forms, thus ensuring its stylistic coherence 13.
The increasingly prosperous and expanding market for representation and its probable developments over the long term allow us to foresee steady growth for Heidi Wood enterprises. This will translate into an increased market share via a rise in the number of customers and the development of customer loyalty due to the many perceived needs in terms of image management 14.
Range of motifs
Heidi Wood's catalogue already offers a wide range of generic motifs still available and adaptable to any situation 15. Furthermore, her design/construction service is regularly supplemented by new products that incorporate past and updated trends 16.
Catalogue Heidi Wood, Oeuvres de 2001 à 2007
1 As an artist, Heidi Wood presents herself as a service provider. She consciously positions her proposals within the reality of the market economy. Her business and communication models follow those of business. It is thus possible to describe and appreciate her work by deliberately positioning ourselves within this perspective.
2 Heidi Wood's stance can be described as a fiction: that of a small business that designs and provides a service in line with identified needs for a targeted customer. This text plays the game of the simulation inferred by her work. In other words, the logic proclaimed by the work is pushed to its extreme by attempting to approach it via the real model she simulates. This article fits into the diegetic dimension of the artist's work. Like the artist's work, it should be taken as a proposal that supplements the fiction.
3 The exercise is a test. The description of a business project requires rationalizing all aspects to justify its validity. Critical commentary, while it tends to applaud the coherence of the work as a whole, must likewise consider all aspects of the undertaking. Bringing together two types of text is thus plausible. The constraint lies mainly in vocabulary (service, department, product, clientele, etc.) and its connotations. There is a risk of becoming caricatured. Yet the metaphor lies precisely in this exaggeration. And in the footnotes where there is a reading on two levels, just as there is in Heidi Wood's work.
4 These footnotes serve as a context (at least for the inner circle). By presenting themselves as a commentary on the article, they target the work indirectly.
5 It becomes clear that Heidi Wood's work does not lend itself to analysis like traditional photography. It is not a statement of fact, a recording of things as they are but rather a suggestion for transformation, improvement and enhancement of this state of things. This suggestion is expressed by means of photography, most often associated with an incorporated or juxtaposed graphic motif.
6 In a way, this suggestion can be seen as a traditional decorative proposal. The question remains of what is decorated and what is décor. The motif apparently takes the form of a painting made to fit a given setting. It plays the role of the decorative touch. Yet at the same time it highlights and condenses the underlying decorative nature of this setting. The hierarchy between setting and painting thus levels out. The milieu justifies the motif and vice versa. The setting decorates the painting as much as the painting decorates the setting. Neither the setting nor the painting is decorative. Only the relationship between the two.
7 But all this is only a promise. A promise of a décor. The photograph, with or without motif, the wallpaper, the montage, the arrangement, all this is no more than simulacra. Nothing is really made. It is an image, a possible reflection of things. The artist faces a reality made up of a proposal grounded in what she sees but also in what she foresees. She gives her vision of things in the form of an anticipation that we have chosen to call Coming Soon.
8 Coming soon is an expression used to announce an impending event. Heidi Wood takes it and integrates it into her work as a ready-made textual element. Coming Soon 2006 can be rightly interpreted as an announcement of an exhibition but also, in a shift of meaning, as a generic designation of Heidi Wood exhibitions.
9 All artworks by Heidi Wood function in reference to communication models employed in the commercial domain. Her installations can be put together like displays in a department store, her images distributed as spam, her polyptych compositions presented as advertising billboards when the slogans themselves are not directly appropriated and reassigned. Starting with her first works, the artist has deliberately oriented her register of expression toward the communication vernacular. She is not interested in the announcement itself or even the specific codes that govern it but rather the announcement's impact. Heidi Wood works on the suggestive power of these types of visuals and the forms of idealization they lead us toward.
10 One of the most efficient motors of this suggestion consists in orchestrating on the same level several heterogeneous elements, such as a photographic image, an abstract form or a slogan. In the traditional sense, it is a collage. Its evocative force lies in the hiatus, in the impression maintained of these elements being out of synch despite their proximity. But in so far as the collage takes on and quotes the conventional modalities of visual communication, the hiatus is interpreted and partially resolved in line with the most common modes of association: enhancement, designation, substitution, forecast, anticipation.
11 By combining in this way iconic, textual, abstract, figurative, graphic or photographic data, in referring to geometric abstraction, its fall-out in our architectural and decorative environment, its diverse repercussions and reassignments in terms of design, logos and signage, by appropriating (through an amplification of the recycling phenomenon) these same communication codes while simulating the same eye-catching methods, Heidi Wood, faced with a given reality, makes an image in the same way she would paint a painting.
12 All the ingredients of painting are brought together: composition, motif, reference, quotation, title... Except for the medium, which is clearly not that of traditional painting. Mediation here replaces the medium. How it is made manifest is insignificant. Heidi Wood"s artworks can be regenerated and sometimes even updated in a range of media, like the visuals of our era. But in painting, what counts is not so much the material as how it is made. In the digital era, Heidi Wood"s artworks stand for an almost insolent emancipation from materiality to highlight the factual methods of their design.
13 Heidi Wood"s work is carefully and proficiently made. Her undertaking generates projects, not end results. Yet as objects Heidi Wood"s artwork-prototypes are perfectly finalized. In the pure respect of reworked visual phenomena, they take on the slick and definitive look that suits the expression of an ideal.
14 This text and its commentary aim to define the main characteristics of an undertaking at a given time. They seek to reveal the characteristics shared by the artworks and to do so, describe them according to the logic of a system. It is no doubt the nature of the genre. The artwork, however, does not truly respect any system. It evolves over time. From the series Serving Suggestion in 2001 to the series Authentic New Mexico in 2007, several upheavals have occurred. The spam experiment for the Los Angeles series, for example, was no doubt particularly decisive in terms of the self-promotion aspect of the work.
15 Authentic New Mexico, the most recent series to date, does not resemble the preceding series. The "motif" element is explicitly figurative for the first time. The figurine references and reformats a traditional art form. The Kachina doll embraces the Playmobil. This appropriation becomes a commentary on another that is less explicit yet present in the fake adobe style of contemporary architecture in Santa Fe. The association of photograph and motif is no longer a decorative proposal. It is rather an expression of amusement at the turn things take in the particular context of an urban environment that seems entirely devoted to tourism. The question is no longer whether the motif should be integrated into the environment. In a sense, it already is. The confrontation of the two is enough to reveal it implicitly.
16 Quotation, loan and suggestion. Heidi Wood's work is grounded in these three directions. Quotation evokes the past, art history, the history of abstraction, the history of styles. Loan concerns modes of visual communication that currently prevail in our contemporary world, which is itself strongly marked by this history of forms. Suggestion looks at the formal potential of this environment as a setting. Each series, in its own way, expresses a certain updating of the utopias to which these forms once belonged. In Heidi Wood's work, there is a nostalgic, facetious and joyous taste for the image's capacity to promise us the illusion of a world that is always lighter, simpler and more authentic.
Translated from French