Video: Trailer André Heller
Collected works of André Heller in a video trailer, accompanied with words of the well known German author Hans-Magnus Enzensberger:
When talking about André Heller, nobody knows intrinsically who he is. That is the price he pays for being world famous. Even stardom can be punished, although not nearly as sternly as the lack of success. Here the commonplace, but true, idiom “where there is much light, the shadow is deep” is valid. Hence, the more people who think they know who André is, the more difficult it becomes to know him.
Not that he is a ‘man without qualities’; on the contrary, he simply has too many. The same is true for his professions, as well as for his penchants and talents; it even applies to his addresses. There are so many of them that it is nearly impossible to encounter him. But he is not trying to hide. He is not shrouded in mystery. In his books, he relishes vivacious narration about delightful as well as atrocious things he has experienced – an autobiographical openness whose selfdoubts and confessions both disarm and enchant.
Sometimes he flirts with his humbleness. But that is deceptive. While honouring his inclination towards understatement, one must admit that his plans are usually on the verge of wantonness. One of the two delusions – grandeur or humbleness – would be considered by the (not always healthy) common sense. But it is not easy to cope with this phenomenon – yes, let’s call him a phenomenon. After all, one is dealing with an extremely volatile element. He always prefers to be somewhere where you would least expect him.
Essentially, André Heller is basically a refugee, but one who does not complain and who feels anything but a victim. He reacts to the banishment from paradise by inventing his own paradises – please notice the plural: one place of refuge would not suffice for him. There must constantly be numerous and diverse ones, each one more fantastic than the last – because this man is insatiable. But one who does not enjoy sitting by himself at the table he has laid. Everyone who craves for such a meal can join in. Welcome! shouts the presenter of the impossible. Come on in! There’s plenty of room!
Yes, he needs plenty of space. Tents have to be set up, carpets, arcades, circus rings, parks, and preferably entire stretches of land. However, he is a peace-loving conqueror, even if he targets all the four elements. He invents hanging gardens, fiery spectacles, sparkling fountains, and, because he is a volatile element, an ephemeral being, he loves the sky: he seems endlessly occupied with attempting to neutralize gravity.
Whatever he instigates, it is never a one-man show. André is exactly the opposite. Incessantly, and at all points of the compass he searches for associates: Chinese acrobats, African dancers, Indian artists; even in the suburbs of Vienna, he discovers wonderful artists, whose talents one would have thought lost.
Over the years, hundreds, if not thousands, of such magicians have been drawn to him. How does he achieve this? Certainly he is a great manipulator; otherwise he could not cope with his hundreds of associates. But he does not crack the whip; instead, he persuades them to follow the same discipline, which he imposes on himself, and lets himself be ensnared by them. This is contagious for everyone around him, and transforms his audience into those who want to dance, play the drums, or leap into the air.
And on top of it, he is an entrepreneur, a rare appearance, one who does not shy away from taking risks and who puts all his eggs in one basket. He even earns money doing this – lots of money – only to spend it again hand over fist. He is, and always will be, a spendthrift. Of course the admiration he gets arouses natural envy in others. Sometimes this irritates him, but most of the time he ignores the taunts. The suspicion he attracts has many
facets. Is André Heller respectable? Those who take things very seriously often ask this question. Oscar Wilde answered this once and for all in his immortal comedy the Importance of Being Ernest in which it becomes clear that it is unhealthy to bore oneself or others.
Yes, it is true – Heller often goes too far. This displeases the invisible censor, which breaths down the art industry’s neck, and which Heller shamelessly ignores. He is not scared of the sentiment that priests chafe at sobriety, just as the devil dreads holy water. The ornament that puritans want to abolish is sacred to him; and even Kitsch is less of an evil to him than abjuration. Like all dreamers, he would not dream
of keeping within the boundaries of good taste.
His multitudinous transformations unnerve those who are envious of him. He cannot fulfil the often expressed desire that he should stick to his trade because he is so many different people: an actor, a dancer, a pyro-artist, a poet, a gardener, a singer – as far as I’m concerned, maybe even an impostor – everything, but definitely not a cobbler.
Vogliamo tutto! We want everything! This was the name of a small Italian group who wanted to turn the world upside down. A naïve, childish wish, against which all politics would be scuppered, except that it cannot be exorcised from mankind. To attempt to bring the reflected glory of the impossible before our eyes – maybe that is André Heller’s mission.