Caspar Heinemann is an artist, poet and twinky butch anarcho-communist mystic based in Berlin. Their interests include critical occultism, gay biosemiotics, and coutercultural mythology.
Caspar was presented to us as not a she, nor a she, but a they, and when they talked about a partner, they were mentioned as a boyfriend/girlfriend/partner/other half, in order to keep Caspar’s identity and sexuality a private entity.
Before I start, I found that throughout this artist talk, I sometimes could not determine when Caspar was speaking about their work, or reading out a piece of prose or poetry. This sometimes made it difficult to take notes as I wasn’t entirely sure what I was taking notes on.
When introducing themselves, Caspar immediately introduced that they are not interested in performing the vulnerability and they are not there for people to feel sorry for them, but rather just say their artwork. An occurring theme throughout the written, performance and sculpture works is that of the ‘normal’ things are irrelevant. This is why we were not introduced with a small biography of name, age, birthday, and all the things you build your judgement of a person on, as this is something that they did not want. Heinemann also introduced us to the verge and the edge of a nervous breakdown that they feel as though they are on. This is a self-defined term when hope has slipped so far that there is no hope any more. This is a reason why they seemed uncomfortable and scratched at the rising problem of eczema on their body. Another appropriation of words was used in ‘Working with wild life’, the last piece of prose read within the talk. Within this, Caspar lays out the groundwork to show that ‘capitalism is a beautiful word and cannot wait to appropriate it to mean flower or ladybird sex’.
There were many a confession within the talk Heinemann gave us including the fact that they want, or at least they were thinking about, dropping out of the art world. Caspar want to work towards a world where writing about the body is not squeamish and where writing about sex and flowers is not shunned upon, but at the same time, not everyone should be doing it. A last confession made, and a question raised was whether the art world should really exist. Caspar trusts poems.
“I want to read novels and fuck. That is the aspiration.”
In the background of the presentation, a slide show of their other works was displayed. These were made up of miniature and dainty sculptures and large and encapsulating sculptures. At the beginning of the talk, Heinemann said that they are not interested in speaking about explaining the sculptures directly. They were made of found materials, often including plastic bottles, cardboard boxes and wood. The sculptures are very important and in terms of things, they feel as though they can explain them through the poetry and prose, and the objects are the space outside of this. The poems and pieces of prose, however, are created by using notes from a notebook that Heinemann always carries around.
A mantra that is painted above their desk in gold is from a poem, beginning with ‘minute perceptions speeding along a dusty surface’. This is what they want to achieve as an interest of theirs is the valueless – stripping away everything to then see what they wanted to make.
“The less you are, the more you have.”
The earlier comment of not talking about autobiographical information then backfired as where Caspar lives impacts on the work that is made. Heinemann lives in a cheaper city and mentions this because where you live is always such a big conversation in the art world. They want to be an artist as a job, and not a lifestyle, to destroy the stereotype of a man sat dedicated in his studio making artwork at all hours of the day.
Everyone wants to be an artist and no one wants to be an artist – the difference in the relationship is the economics.
“Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) feels as unreal as Gay Conversion Therapy.”
Heinemann also realised that all the things she loves doing other than her job, others get paid to do these. They realised that they can also get paid for this, however Heinemann does not want to get paid for these things and wants to protect them by not bringing them into her art. This is perhaps why some of her poems and prose are not logical, and yet they are still legible. They emphasise lifestyle over personality and anarchy over lifestylism has been avoided. There is also the emphasis of desire over production.
Heinemann read out many of their pieces to us, including the work of their dissertation, ‘Fucking Panties’, on queer poets and the quality of opulent and coping. One of these poets turns routines into rituals, which Heinemann was interested in looking at – “The faggots and his friends.”
“Desert is the best time.”
Within the questions at the end, some of their inspirations were revealed including that of the book Three Summers, poetry, Kari Edwards and the magician and book writer Gordon White. Heinemann has found that they have slightly given up theory, but have been trying to read outside of the cannon or philosophical pieces that are read in art school.
“PS: Imagine a world without wild life.”