Thursday, August 04, 2016


Plica vocalis gallinae (Vocal cord of a chicken), 2010,
silver halide print, 27 x 20.5 in (69 x 52 cm)

Heide Hatry takes "what you see is what you get" and turns it on its ear. Frankly, it would be very difficult to know exactly what we are getting in her work. And even more frankly, that is just the way she likes it.

There is a funny and telling story about someone unwittingly opening a refrigerator in the basement of her building, where she was keeping one of her pieces, a human head made of meat. Presumably they were hoping they might find a cold beer. What they found instead scared and shocked them so much that they felt they had no choice but to call the police. When it was all sorted out, everyone had a good chuckle about it, including the police, and the guy who was terrified by what he thought he had stumbled upon, but no one got a bigger kick out of it than Heide Hatry. 

What that person experienced was a complete affirmation of everything she is trying to accomplish in her work; if only everyone could stumble upon her work in such an unsuspecting way. And, for the most part, they do. Heide Hatry springs something on the viewer that they do not see coming. Practically ever time. This is no small artistic achievement.

For some 15 years Hatry has used animal skin and what is called offal, animal "by products," as a medium to make her work. Some are sculptures, others installations, some are performances, others are documented in film or photography. Whether portraits, figures or flowers, there is a sexuality about the work that is confident, confrontational, even contentious. It is what it is.

Becci anitum inferioresLower beaks of ducks, Hong Kong, China 2011

That Heide Hatry's father raised pigs on their farm in Germany gives us just enough background. Where she goes in her work is in the best tradition of artist as obsessor, artist as provocateur. Only someone truly driven could accomplish what she has. The results can only be described as awesome and marvelous, nothing less. It doesn't really matter what else we think. What else we think and feel about meat and animals and carnage. Her work transcends disgust for such things. It leaves such things in her wake. Heide Hatry has places to go and things to make happen.

Addison Parks
Spring Hill, August 2016

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've always appreciated the way you talk about art, and it's always great to hear your voice.