ContiniArtUK is pleased to announce the first London solo exhibition of sculptor Helidon Xhixha, Refractive Vibes.
Over the course of the artist’s career, Xhixha has developed a style of sculpting in which the balance between light and steel has become the primary concern. Quoted as saying, “I don’t sculpt materials, I use materials to sculpt light” one can understand that the artist is making something more than just an object for viewing. Through a highly skilled intervention on steel in which perfectly flat, seamless planes become suddenly distorted and disturbed, Xhixha is in fact creating a visual commentary on the interplay between metal and light, between the physical and the immaterial.
Albanian by origin, now living and working between Milan and Dubai, Xhixha has become a renowned global figure in the contemporary art scene. Born into a family of artists, he grew up with an inherent respect for the Arts, with his passion for sculpting coming from his Father at a young age. He has achieved continued success for his iconic stainless steel structures, featuring in public and private collections on a global arena.
In scientific terms, refraction is the bending of a wave when it comes into contact with a different medium. It is from here that the title Refractive Vibes was born. Xhixha’s iconic style manifests itself as a physical interpretation of the bending of light waves as they collide with the mirror polished surface of the stainless steel. Dispersing outwards, they ripple and bounce, creating beautifully distorted patterns and reflections in their wake.
The show is to be considered as a reflection of the artist’s career so far, in parallel to the way in which the works themselves function. Refractive Vibes will take the viewer on a journey through Xhixha’s practice from rarely-seen early works, to his instantly recognisable sculptures of today. In doing so, one can explore the changing ideas and notions behind the artist’s works, as well as witnessing the subtle shifts in style and technique. Early pieces such as ATOMO & Wheel of Energy present the viewer with a far more visceral experience; using blackened, roughly shaped steel; like dystopian artefacts, they evoke simultaneous feelings of both a primitive past and a broken future. These are a far cry from recent works in which the sculptor operates with refinement and elegance, creating timeless works that harness the transcendent powers of reflection and light.
Exhibited at a turning point in the artist’s career, Refractive Vibes will also begin to explore the artist's future direction. In the show, never before seen works are displayed as Xhixha begins to integrate new materials into his approach. Carrara Marble starts to become apparent in his practice, fused seamlessly with the familiar stainless steel forms, a further exchange between earth and light is realised.
In recent years, Xhixha’s works have reached a comprehensive audience worldwide. The summer of 2015 saw one of the artist’s most iconic moments when, as part of the 56th Biennale, he floated a monumental stainless steel ICEBERG through the canals of Venice. As a comment on the ever-growing threat of global warming and the fragility of the ancient city, this event captured the imagination of the art world as well as the attention of the international press. Xhixha’s works have continued to grow in reputation gaining him involvement in major public installations in Europe, the States and the Middle East.
2016 is set to see Xhixha’s work take on a new challenge at the inaugural London Design Biennale, where he will seek to overcome the barriers between Fine Art and Design. By creating an installation that is informed by utopian ideology, as well as being a functional site for rest and relaxation whilst still maintaining his signature style, exemplifies the huge potential of the artist's practice.