Review by Journalist Rak Razaam 2010.
Rak Razam is a freelance writer & media provocateur specializing in writing and editing books (fiction and non-fiction); scripts for the screen and feature articles. He is a founding editor of Undergrowth, Australia’s leading online counterculture arts & literature magazine.
I’ve recently returned from the Amazon region of Peru, where I was writing about and drinking ayahuasca, a jungle medicine with the indigenous curanderos — or as the west calls them, shamen. One of the things the shamen say in their cosmology is that the world speaks to us-not in the pitched cries or cramped scrawls that we humans call language- but in a visual language made of nature itself. The way a leaf falls and a cloud rolls, the timing of the sun rising above a cliff, or a storm breaking across water — all this and more is the secret language of the world and if you have the eyes to see it, you can speak it. If you don’t have those eyes, the next best thing to do is to look, and appreciate, and grok the visual wizardry of Gerhard Hillmann. His lush, organic textures show us a world where nature speaks, where beauty and geometry can be found in the crease of a butterfly’s wings, the shape of a shell or the bloom of the vegetal world. In artwork collections such as “Texture in Time”, Hillmann juxtaposes organic textures with subtle and psychedelic layering, showing the true secret of nature, the sacred consciousness that creates, sustains and amazes.
Hillmann’s work shows a maturity of intent that is executed with a refreshing subtlety. In his recent series — “Urban Beleaf” — he weaves in political, social and technological images that comment on the refugee problem, consumerism, the fear generated by the war on terror and much more onto the organic surface of leaves, counterpointing our human concerns upon organic canvases. Much of his earlier work, including the seminal “Symbiosis” collection, focuses on hallucinogenic vistas that montage the natural world with the man made. The skin of a snake. A sunflower with its petals picked off. A mushroom tree of life. Sea urchins – it’s as if Hillman gets inside the point of view of earth’s creatures and looks out of their eyes they way they see the world in all it’s fractaling, infinite beauty, and then he serves it up on a canvas. Hillmann’s photography and digital artwork is beyond linguistics, and compresses in the catch of an eye what would take an eternity to express. It is something to be seen, digested, and remembered as it spreads its visual message through you. And then maybe you too, will speak the language of the world…