Magazine article The Spectator

Viewed from on High

Magazine article The Spectator

Viewed from on High

Article excerpt

Exhibitions 2

Michael Heindorff: Looking Down on the City of London (Guildhall Art Gallery, till 17 November)

Last week I watched the sun set over the city of Hanover from the 16th floor of the new regional headquarters of Nord/LB, the vast German banking enterprise. The view was breathtaking, and I bethought myself of artists who might do justice to such a panorama. For example, Michael Heindorff (born Brunswick 1949). But he, I learnt, had already drawn the bank while it was being built, and had toured an exhibition of his work with the bank's sponsorship. Yet it is Heindorff who would accept the challenge of such a view, for he has developed something of a passion in recent years for panoramic draughtsman ship, working from tall buildings in Germany, London and New York. This is amply borne out by his new exhibition of drawings, mostly made from the towers of a group of City churches.

There are 50 drawings hanging on display against the dark green hessian-covered walls of the Guildhall gallery. Thirty-nine were made this spring and summer from the tops of nine churches - St Botolph Bishopsgate, St Mary Lothbury, St Lawrence Jewry, St Mary Woolnoth, St Edmund the King, St Sepulchre, St Mary-- le-Bow, St Bride and St Giles Cripplegate. This was the order in which Heindorff drew from them. The project had its genesis in an awakening of religious impulses in Heindorff's daughter - she wanted to go to church and he accompanied her. Going to church set him thinking about many things, not least the actual buildings. He speaks of churches as `repositories of human thinking', and `places of the imagination'. It became his intention to make a series of drawings which would examine the spatial relationship between the ancient churches and their contemporary surroundings. In the process of making them he experienced `moments of spiritual rebuilding with elements of contemplation'. In addition to the church drawings, there are 11 made from other tall City buildings -- for instance the Coq d'Argent Restaurant at the top of No 1 Poultry.

Heindorff draws with a penknife and soft pencil onto a good thick paper attached to a drawing-board. …

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