Pulse Art Fair Miami

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The Residence Gallery is proud to be representing Alexander Heaton At the Pulse Art Fair. He has designed a solo show entitled-The Secret of the Runes. This will be a solo show in a specailly created environment within the art fair. A selection of new paintings and prints will be on display.

The Pulse Art Fair takes place in Miami from the 1st to the 4th of December. Heaton’s work will be one of only a very few artists that have been chosen to have solo shows during the fair. The new paintings will be shown in a specially created environment of gilded pagan runes within the art fair. For more information on the fair and Heaton’s current work please visit the Residence gallery website.

January 6, 2011, Miami, Florida - PULSE Miami closed the doors on its 2010 edition this week, where 82 international exhibitors showed contemporary art in Midtown Miami's Ice Palace. The first under new Director Cornell Dewitt was deemed a resounding success as exhibitors reported overwhelming sales unheard of since 2007. This edition re-emphasized the welcoming atmosphere that PULSE has long been known for, which drew more than 15,000 visitors.

"PULSE is not just about a place within the art market, it's about making an art fair better," explained Director Cornell DeWitt, who continued "collectors come for the art, and stay for the enjoyment factor.

Visitors to the fair were welcomed by an expansive plaza adorned with hammocks and trees conceived by SPACE Production + Design, though many opted to relax on artist Orly Genger's functional installation Beef Cakes. On view were regular performances of Wall by Brooklyn dance troupe Shannon Gillen & Guests. On Saturday, Michael Waugh's tour de force Decline and Fall (of a performance artist) saw the artist read passages from Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire emerging from the uninterrupted eight hours tanned but otherwise unharmed.


The fair was a destination for some of the art world's premier celebrities, tastemakers and visionaries. Actors Adrien Brody and Isabella Rossellini; and singer Harry Connick Jr. turned heads as they perused the booths. The "who's who" of collectors included Eli Broad; Beth Rudin DeWoody; Tom Healy; Lady Monica Heftler of Monaco; Susan and Michael Hort; Toby Devan Lewis; Marty Marguiles; Brook Neidich; Jean Pigozzi; Mera Rubell; Alain Servais; Lillian Vernon; and Scott Westover of the Progressive Insurance Collection.

A host of art professionals included Simon Baker, Curator at the Tate Modern; Dan Cameron, Director of Prospect New Orleans; Thomas Campbell, Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Amanda Coulson, Director of the VOLTA Show; Katelijne De Backer, Director of the Armory Show; Carter Foster, Curator at the Whitney Museum; RoseLee Goldberg, Director of Performa; Elizabeth Ann MacGregor, Director of the Sydney Museum of Contemporary Art; Georgina Nichols, Acting Director of El Museo Del Barrio; Anne Pasternak, Director of Creative Time; Veronica Roberts, Curatorial Assistant at MoMA; Vesela Sretenovic, Curator at the Phillips Collection; and Charlie Stainback, Curator at the Norton Museum of Art.


The Ice Palace
1400 North Miami Avenue
Miami, FL 33136
Media and Entertainment District

PULSE is conveniently situated in Miami's Media and Entertainment District, minutes from the Miami International Airport via US I-95, downtown Miami via I-395 and Art Basel Miami Beach via the Venetian or MacArthur causeways.


Alexander Heaton’s solo show at the Pulse Art Fair, Miami, takes its name from Guido Von List’s book, Das Geheimnis der Runen ('The Secret of the Runes’). This is a book by Austrian mystic Guido von List, in which he presents his "Armanen Futharkh". It appeared as a standalone publication in 1908.

The book is a summary of List's mysticism as realised in the years between 1902 and 1908. The "Armanen Futharkh", as List referred to them, are a row of 18 runes that are closely based on the Younger Futhark which were "revealed to" von List in 1902. The row of 18 "Armanen runes" came to List while in an 11-month state of temporary blindness after a cataract operation on both eyes in 1902. This vision in 1902 allegedly opened what List referred to as his "inner eye", via which the "Secret of the Runes" was revealed to him. List stated that his Armanen Futharkh were encrypted in the Rúnatal of the Poetic Edda (stanzas 138 to 165 of the Hávamál), with stanzas 147 through 165, where Odin enumerates eighteen wisdoms (with 164 being an interpolation), interpreted as being the "song of the 18 runes". List and many of his followers believed his runes to represent the "primal runes" upon which all historical rune rows were based.

To accompany the 18 paintings, Heaton will gild the 18 sacred runes on the gallery wall. The intention of this is to create an environment for the viewer, which will resonate with a deep sense of connection to the places that have inspired Heaton’s paintings and invite others to experience something of the summits attained in each picture. Each Rune’s wisdom in relation to the installation is that of pathways or constellations of earthly places. Each rune most probably had a name, chosen to represent the sound of the rune itself. These were all elementally based, such as wealth, god, water, ice, tree, sun and journey etc. The runes themselves are markers to journeys that the work will hopefully take you on. For example, a rope is a rune to a climber, an arête is a rune to a mountain, an upward soaring pine tree is a rune to a forest. These metaphoric markers speak in a long forgotten language. However, this language is now only spoken by nature itself and in the forms that originally inspired its creation.

Like List, Heaton is a keen mountaineer and wanderer, having climbed in the Himalaya, Scandinavia and extensively in the Alps. He eyes the peaks with a different intent. He sees them as a climber. Catapulting himself out of his London studio into the Valkyrian skylines of the Alps and metaphorically laying siege to the wilderness through the calm and picturesque ordering of painting, Heaton often takes the
wilderness and its phenomena as a starting point to his paintings. The desire to climb the Alps before their glaciers disappear led Heaton to come across the ice caverns of Dachstein and Werfen after climbing the mountains above these peaks. The glaciers that carve out vast caverns in the depths of the mountains are actually advancing due to the melting of ice on the surface of the mountains every spring. One of List’s ideas was that runic writing was revealed to mankind in the Bronze Age by refracted light being projected out of crystals found by the ancient Celt peoples around these ice cavern systems in the mountains of modern day Austria. This flies in the face of the widely accepted notion that this form of writing was derived from the Roman Latin alphabet after being stripped down and bastardised by Gothic barbarian tribes to become the first Elder Futhark Alphabet sometime after the fall of the Roman Empire.

However, there is some scientific evidence backing up List’s mystical conclusions. Evidence has recently been found dating the runes as far back as the 1st century BC. But the general agreement dates the creation of the first runic alphabet to roughly the 1st century AD. The development of agriculture, metallic manufacture and tribal society in Europe originating very early on around Celtic Hallstaat culture from the late 12th century BC onwards certainly points us to the probability that something was happening around the Alps and in the central European primeval forests to stimulate this development, which would later manifest it self in the birth of the runes. The question is whether you believe it was of a mystical origin or not.

Perhaps after the retreat of the glaciers and the consequent habitability of central Europe, a newly enabled Celtic tribe was able to move out of its former ice caverns and develop these new runic-based belief structures. This is the crux of what Heaton’s works are striving to rediscover amongst the moraine of the Alps. One is reminded perhaps of the lost civilisation myths of the North, ‘Thule’ or Atlantis, as it is often known. Could these ancient Alpine peoples have migrated north somewhere when the sea level was lower. We can only dream of what may be revealed under the Greenland ice sheet when it finally melts. There is, however, scientific evidence for advanced ancient civilisations of the North in the Orkney Islands of Scotland where fossil remains of a habitation equal in stature to that of Mediterranean cities of the epoch have been discovered during the past decades.

The Menhirs (standing stones usually inscribed with runes) and Dolmen (huge stone burial grounds) show an advanced use of engineering for such a supposedly primitive age. These monuments are scattered over northern England where Heaton was born, Scotland, and other Scandinavian countries. The painting ‘Menhir of the North’ reminds us of the possibility of an ancient age of Norse enlightenment. Heaton has picked up on this idea of design by natural forces in his paintings ‘Flake’ and ‘Leni’ where fractals and runic light patterns emanate into the landscape. The artist visited the Salzkammergut region in 2008 and then again in the summers of 2009 and 2011 on research trips in which the photographic documentation for such works was gathered. In visiting places so steeped in the mysticism and folklore of the dark ages, Heaton conversely struggled to find meaning in the landscape around himself whilst climbing the precipices alone. Simply not falling by the wayside was task enough in those high lonely places. However, what came upon later reflection was not some kind of divine Teutonic revelation or Messianic premonition – which he perhaps had hoped for – but a sense of mathematical insight into the reasoning for the beauty in the hills: that it is fractals and physical laws, for example, that define how a snowflake always forms with six sides, or dictate how mountains and rocks look the same regardless of their scale, and insist that a simple fern is the enlargement of any part of its whole. This is the reason for the constantly occurring motifs of fir trees, glaciers, and mountain ranges in the work. People have always been aware of this link between divinity and nature but it seems most likely this belief was more firmly held in pagan times. As people were more directly influenced by their surroundings, being dependent on the seasons for harvests and afraid of malevolent forces that lurked in the mountains. As much as we like to think that we mould nature to our own purpose now, in fact it still moulds us totally, and is the reason for the sum of all learning and purpose in life.

Natural disasters, wars and other catastrophes are, suggests Heaton, more common than ever. These events may be seen in a Listian sense as a litmus test for the change that we are inflicting on our own landscape. To see such events as merely ‘tragedy’ and ‘bad’ would be to hugely simplify the whole state of our living earth. In a mystical sense the predicted fall of our globalized position is inevitable. In many ways the pagan legends of gods falling from grace in a Ragnarok-like battle are not far from the truth and need to happen. Nothing is ever an accident and everything in nature is fine-tuned by a set of pre-ordained mathematical principles. The artist sees no difference between Listian mystic prophecies of the destiny of mankind and Darwinian conclusions on where we could be going.

In returning to endless combinations of form, Heaton aims to organize and refine the seemingly chaotic in nature. This was much the practice of the Northern Romantic painters in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, seeking in the aftermath of the chaos of the Napoleonic wars to show nature as an allegory for renewal of dismantled nations and nationalities. The Romantics strove to see divinity in the minutiae of life, from the smallest pebbles to the sweeping crimson sunsets of the little ice age (this itself testifies to the power of nature, as the Krakatoa eruption and volcanic ash it spewed created this effect, which is evident in Turner's paintings, and contributed to the little ice age). Heaton’s paintings can be seen as a continuation of this movement; but his approach is to emphasise order where others have seen chaos. And yet his work chimes with a happy prophecy of inevitable total destruction. Heaton was stranded in the Alps during the 2010 Icelandic eruption – coincidence or not?

Triune -Triffidic –Triad (Surface-underworld-outer world)

The Listian idea of the soul (much inspired by Nietzsche’s thinking and Germanic pagan revivalism of the late 19th century) states in a summed up way – We, the culminated human psyche, are on the surface and in order to advance to the outer world must descend into the underworld and destroy our bodies in order to free oneself into the outer world. Man becomes god through purging to become an endless reincarnation of Odin himself – divine return into the cosmos. Risk-taking in climbing and exploring the dark cavernous recesses of the earth offer a starting point to one's possible passage into this belief system should one wish to go that way. Gazing at the stars from the clarity of high mountainous altitude seems to hint at possible passages to out-of-body experiences and mental journeys by following the star-makers' rune signs.

The idea of grace through dismantlement has many similarities with Christian belief in the Holy Trinity and the Resurrection. Conversely, it seems that at the root of Christianity is an intact Pagan belief system and moral code simply overlaid crudely upon the older one that was derived from the magnetic cold wastes of the North. For example, the Norse legend of how the maker god Odin gave writing to mankind describes Odin creating the Futhark alphabet by being speared to a tree for seven nights whereupon the runes took shape in his gushing blood. This holds surprising similarities with the crucifixion story and also parallels the transubstantiation belief of the Holy Communion. This idea is commented on in the painting from 2009 - The ice axe murders. Santa Claus, a jolly old fat man with a long white beard who is said to distribute presents to well-behaved children on Christmas Eve, is largely based on Odin, merged with the Christian legend of Saint Nicholas of Myra.

Many belief structures are fundamentally the same and cloak truths from us like the layers of an onion. Consequently, the work tries to point the romantic dreamer in us to need not strive to see godliness in his or her surroundings. More likely his surroundings themselves look out and see truth in the conception of our existence. Borrowing much from the writer Olaf Stapledon’s ideas, stars and planets could be living entities like children of a galactic star maker. And each universe is but one of many artistic creations along the way. Heaton’s paintings come from his belief that landscape itself holds an older and purer belief system in touch with these origins and can be unravelled by wandering freely within it. Heaton gilds the runes out of gold, a substance that is only formed at the heart of a dying star. The rune is the fractal and the fractal is the truth.