Q & A with Anja Hessler (Form + Gestalt)
Location: Ramsgate, Kent
Discipline: Mobile Sculpture, Collectable Objects
Anja Hessler is a contemporary artist and designer who creates one-of-a-kind mobile sculptures and objects using a diverse range of materials, including precious and non-precious metals, acrylic, and wood.
Recognized as one of the foremost emerging artists in the field, Hessler has garnered acclaim for her work. In 2023, Saatchi Art acknowledged Hessler’s exceptional talent, naming her one of the top 23 artists to collect. Her captivating collections have earned her a prominent place in notable exhibitions throughout Europe and have found homes in various esteemed private collections across the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States.
More recently, Anja Hessler was featured in the October 2023 issue of Homes & Gardens, where she was celebrated as one of “The Rising Stars of the Design World,” further solidifying her status as a leading figure in contemporary art and design.
Please describe your creative process/practice:
I create one-of-a-kind contemporary mobile sculptures and objects from metal, acrylic and wood. My artistic journey is deeply influenced by Minimalism and the concept of Design as Art, drawing inspiration from the Modernist movement, particularly the Bauhaus philosophy, which emphasises the fusion of art, design, and craftsmanship. Captivated by the clean lines, symmetry, and spatial relationships found in architectural design, I carefully consider the balance and proportions of my sculptures, orchestrating an intricate interplay of forms that evokes a sense of wonder, inviting the viewer into a realm where art, design, and the natural world coexist in harmonious unity.
I love the tactility of working with metal and it’s physical interaction, observing how it yields to the rhythm of the body. Every piece carries a trace of my movement and state of mind, rendering each creation truly unique.
More recently I have started to explore combining metal with locally found drift wood, to create an exploration of geometric shapes fused with organic textures. I aim to deepen the viewers’ connection to the artwork, inviting them to explore the intricate relationships between materials, movement, balance, and the ever-present textures of nature.
Your influences and motivations:
I draw inspiration from a variety of sources, including the modernism movement, Bauhaus principles, architectural lines, and the rich textures found in the natural world. By combining these influences, I strive to create dynamic and captivating artworks that encapsulate the harmonious interplay of movement, balance, spatial relationships, and the tactile qualities of nature. Incorporating organic textures into my mobile sculptures is a deliberate choice aimed at evoking a profound connection to the environment and the innate beauty of the natural world. This serves as a poignant reminder of our deep-seated relationship with nature, encouraging viewers to contemplate their own place within the broader ecological fabric.
Ultimately, my objective is to transcend the boundaries of traditional sculpture, offering a sensorial experience that engages both the visual and tactile senses. I aspire to deepen the viewers’ connection to the artwork, inviting them to explore the intricate relationships between materials, movement, balance, and the ever-present textures of the natural world.
What makes your work unique?
Each sculpture I create is truly unique, meticulously handcrafted using time-honored traditional metalsmithing techniques. My deep passion lies in the tactile and physical aspects of shaping every element by hand, establishing an intimate connection with the materials that gives rise to the distinctiveness of each piece.
One of the key features that distinguishes my work is my meticulous manipulation of every metal component to unveil signs of deterioration. This deliberate technique adds an additional layer of depth and character to the sculptures, resulting in their genuine distinctiveness. This process involves oxidizing the metal to reveal its aged history, infusing each individual piece with a profound sense of time and narrative. As a consequence, my work bears the indelible mark of individuality, guaranteeing that no two sculptures are alike. Employing a delicate interplay of materials, shapes, and weights, my objective is to create visually captivating pieces that emanate a sense of graceful motion. These mobiles respond gracefully to even the slightest currents of air, swaying and dancing in space, inviting viewers to engage in contemplation and introspection.
Drawing inspiration from both organic and geometric forms, I aim to strike a harmonious balance between precision and spontaneity in my work. Each sculpture undergoes meticulous construction, with careful consideration given to the arrangement and alignment of its components. Yet, I also embrace the element of chance, allowing the mobiles to take on a life of their own as they interact with their environment. It is within this harmonious interplay between intention, serendipity, and the subtle traces of degradation that my sculptures truly come alive, rendering them genuinely unique works of art.
Anja Hessler (Form + Gestalt), Orbital #3,
Sculpture, £1000. Photo by danweill.