Heike Liss

Replacement Therapy


[Video loop, color, silent]

The Replacement Therapy project was conceived and executed during an artist residency at the Lou Harrison Straw Bale House in Joshua Tree. In the small courtyard that I had turned into my studio I used furniture and other household items to construct and then de-construct a large-scale ephemeral sculpture. As is the case with much of my other work, Replacement Therapy investigates ideas about “home.” The piece was inspired by the hormone-driven and at times comical urge to obsessively sort, group, arrange and especially re-arrange, a phenomenon that can occur during pregnancy, the menstrual cycle (PMS), or peri-menopause. The idea was to exhaust myself by using as many objects as possible, building from wall to wall and from floor to ceiling without having any pre-conceived plan. I would go inside, find an object—a chair for example—carry it to the courtyard, and then find “the right spot” for it. Every time I added an object, I took a photograph. Once the space was filled I reversed the process by picking “the right object,” removing it, and carrying it back to where I’d found it, once again photographing the altered sculpture step by step until the courtyard was empty again.

With the photographs I created a stop-motion video loop in which the process of construction and de-construction is repeated ad nauseam. The viewer experiences the artist’s arbitrary or intuitive choice and placement of each object either as a surprise or, alternatively, as a lack of control; it is a similarly obsessive and draining experience. The need to build is replaced by the (less satisfying) need to watch. What will the next object be? Where will it go? How much longer will this go on? Will it collapse? When? Why am I doing (watching) this? And: when will it (I) be done?


Heike Liss

Heike Liss HEIKE LISS is a multi media artist and explorer whose work has been shown in Europe and North and South America. Most recently she has exhibited at Meridian Gallery San Fransico, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Valdivia, Chile and Stanford University. She has had the fortune to collaborate with many fabulous artists, including choreographer François Verret, composers/musicians Fred Frith, Theresa Wong, Ellen Fullman, Phil Minton, Sudhu Tewari, GAW and Patrice Scanlon, multi media artists Michael Trigilio, Ellen Lake and Nomi Talisman, as well as poets Lyn Hejinian and Romney Steele. She is the recipient of awards from the San Francisco Arts Commission, the International Photography Institute at Columbia University, Texas Woman’s University, Stanford’s Experimental Media Arts Lab, Kala Art Institute and Laboratoire Village Nomade, to name a few. She holds a BA in Cultural Studies from the University of Tübingen and an MFA in Studio Arts from Mills College. Heike lives in Oakland with her charming family.