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Emil Westman Hertz

Emil Westman Hertz (1978-2016) has made his mark as one of his generation’s most remarkable artists. He was born and raised on the island of Bornholm, graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and Maumaus School of Fine Arts in Lisbon.
Westman Hertz works in a wide variety of artistic media, including sculpture, installation, photography, collage and paper works. His artworks are often based on natural materials such as wood, beeswax, clay, mussel shells, giant hogweed and other found objects. 
His inspiration principally derives from the ritual practices of exotic cultures, but we also find references to art and literature, animism, magic and superstition, quantum physics and the adventure worlds of comics. Not infrequently, the works assume a composite character that refers equally to anatomical models, architectural buildings, structures in nature, animate cultural objects and visualisations of parallel universes. All-encompassing systems of thought are in other words expressed by Westman Hertz. 
The artistic work also contains consciously enigmatic stories from near and far. These may function as personal accounts of expeditions to primitive settlements, or may in more general terms refer to attempts by Western culture to understand and scientifically classify ‘the exotic’. The narratives often assume the character of inner journeys in which they bear testimony to the distorted realities of illness, fever or dream visions. Many of the artist’s works may also be considered as self-portraits, in the form of a body that is undergoing transformation. 
A special area of study for Westman Hertz comprises death cults and the threshold experiences of metempsychosis. Subjects such as life, death and rebirth are artistically expressed through organic growth forms and a special use of materials that points to transformation and altered states of matter. This latter aspect can especially be seen in the artist’s use of beeswax and bronze casts of the perishable materials of nature. 
Westman Hertz is in general fascinated by the components and complex properties of living organisms. He also sets out models for what reality might look like if, for a moment, we refused to allow ourselves to be limited by rationality, traditional scientific logic and mastery of nature, but instead tried to understand life’s more mysterious aspects. 
Emil Westman Hertz is thus a cross-cultural artist whose questing and composite visual expression plays out at the intersection of ethnography, anthropology, art and natural history.