Diana Heise

My pursuits of knowledge tackle violence, domination and other aspects of aggression that humans are capable of inflicting. Perhaps a survival instinct, but, nonetheless, violence is a constant in human history and thus an area that requires attention. How do we, borrowing from Voltaire, “cultivate our garden” if this environment is not “the best of all possible worlds”? With this question in mind, my work studies fear-inspiring, violence-evoking aspects of our species, in order to highlight the fragile resilience of life. I create a visual language that simultaneously engages the grotesque and the beautiful, addressing the sources of such fear and celebrating methods of resisting domination. Through viewing my work, I aim to encourage catharsis, healing and sensations of freedom, beyond motivating the viewer’s shame.

Artist-in-residence from 2009 to 2013.