Helga Steppan

Parallelistic Imitations

Parallestic Imitation # 01

Parallelistic Imitation # 01
(Wood, Mirrors Perspex, Lamda Photographic Prints, 2,10 x 1,87 x 0,30 m)

Parallestic Imitation # 03

Parallelistic Imitation # 03
(Mirrors Perspex, 60 x 114 x 60 cm)

Parallestic Imitations, View of Exhibition Space

Parallelistic Imitations, View of Exhibition Space
(Mirrors, Mirror Perspex, Lamda Photographic Prints,
Various Dimensions)

Tangra Me # 02

Tangra Me # 02
(Wood, Mirror Perspex, Various Dimensions (2 x 2 x 1.2 m))

Woodworks # 01

Woodworks # 01
(Wood, 3 x 3 x 3 m)

Helga Steppan: Parallelistic l’imitation

The works of Helga Steppan meld the genres of photography, installation and sculpture. Steppan’s works almost always begin with the act of gathering and ordering - be it all of her possessions, as in the photographic series ‘See Through - All my things’ (2004), in which she categorised all of her belongings by colour, or the gathering of the multitude of reflective objects that became the site specific work ‘Mirroculous’ (2008). Steppan’s works playfully flit between the psychological realm of memories and associations and the ordered world of systems and classification. Rather than referring to classifications normally associated with the realm of the museum or sciences, Steppan uses her own unconventional and often playful set of criteria to organise forms and objects.

The interplay between the two and three dimensional has been a consistent interest of Steppan’s. Her photographic works are, invariably, sculptural in their origins, the final photograph a two dimensional trace of a three dimensional form. In her latest works, the use of photography moves beyond that of documentation, becoming both a starting point and vital element in the construction of her site specific installations. The gathering instinct seen in earlier works is reflected in these installations by her use of photography as a way of both garnering and organising information about the exhibition space. Steppan subsequently re-constructs the resulting images and information into new, sculptural forms which are placed back within the gallery. The inception of this process was first seen in her 2007 site specific work ‘The Spare Room’, in which Steppan created a dreamlike environment through an installation of photographs which appeared to mirror the very rooms that they occupied.

Similarly in ‘Parallelistic l’imitation’ Steppan has used the architectural features of Château de Sacy as her starting point. The resulting sculptures - geometric forms, constructed from mirrored surfaces and photographs of the spaces that they inhabit - immediately disorientate, interrupting and disrupting the spaces that they inhabit. In these fictitious environments, part mirror image, part photographic representation, we are both reflected and at another turn made absent. As the title of the exhibition suggests, the works allude to parallel universes, but Steppan’s other worlds are illusionary - an imagining and imitation of multi-dimensional space - and are therefore ultimately limited in their possibilities. We cannot pass through the invisible boundary of the mirrored surface or that of the photograph to enter into them.

Drawing influence from the utopian architectural designs of the 1950’s and 1960’s, from ‘Architectures Fantastiques’ and Le Corbusier’s belief in the mathematical order of the universe, Steppan’s at first perplexing structures, create worlds within worlds. The mirror, historically representational of a gateway into other dimensions or entry point into the subconscious, leads us into a never ending labyrinthine gaze. It is a ‘tricked gaze’ 1 but as Michel Foucault has also written, the mirrored world is both a utopia - a space which is ‘fundamentally and essentially unreal’ 2 in which we simultaneously are present but also not - and a ‘heterotopia’, a space between the real and utopian. In Steppan’s works, the relationship between what is real, what is reflection and what is reproduction draws our attention to the fact that what we are witnessing is an illusion, bringing our awareness back to our own place in space and time.

Jacqui McIntosh

Jacqui McIntosh is an independent writer and curator based in London.

1 Michel Foucault, ‘So Cruel a Knowledge’ in Aesthetics, Method, and Epistemology, edited by James Faubion (Penguin Books, 2000), p60

2 Michel Foucault, ‘Different Spaces’ in Aesthetics, Method, and Epistemology, edited by James Faubion (Penguin Books, 2000), p178

Previous Work

See Through - All My Things /White/
See Through - All My Things /Black/
See Through - All My Things /Yellow/
See Through - All My Things /Red/

See Through - All My Things /White/, /Black/, /Yellow/, /Red/
C-Type Photographic Prints 30″ x 36″, 2004.

A photographic series in which I audited all my personal belongings and divided them into a full spectrum of colour groupings: White, Black, Yellow, Red, Blue, Pink, Green, Orange, Purple, Brown, Grey, and Miscellaneous. Nothing could be removed, borrowed or hidden away from the viewer when constructing all the objects together as installations to be photographed.

The Blind Spot

The Blind Spot / Döda Vinkeln
Mix-media Installation (Car Rear-View and Side Mirrors, D-type Photographic Prints,
Manfrotto Tripod Parts), 2 x 2.5 x 2.5 Meters, 2008

Site-specific Installation created for an exhibition at the CCP Car Park in Liverpool. Exploring the idea of the blind spot and what can be discovered through investigating the space together with its history. Working with rear view and side mirrors of a car together with photography and tripods to link the present to the past, creating a juxtaposition of the representational and reflected imagery.

Helga Steppan Born 1976, Sweden. Lives in UK. Web www.helgasteppan.com www.manandeve.co.uk Education
Master of Arts, Royal College of Art, London
BA (Hons) Graphic Design, Kingston University, London
Foundation Studies in Art & Design, Richmond-Upon-Thames College, London
Kunsthøjskolen, Fine Art (Photography, Sculpture & Moving Image), Holbœk Solo Exhibitions (* exhibition catalogue)

Raderna Emellan Oss

, Garaget, Malmö

Rivit Välillämme / Raderna Emellan Oss

, LittFest, Vasa Stadsbibliotek, Vasa, Finland

Raderna Emellan Oss

, Motala Bibliotek, Motala, Sweden

Raderna Emellan Oss

, UNDERresidence B US, Stockholm

Parallelistic Imitations

, Château de Sacy, Sacy-le-Petit*

All My Things

, Vital Arts Gallery Space, Royal London Hospital, London

Be Long A Part

, Man&Eve Gallery, London*

Anna Otto Bob

, Hockney Gallery, London Group Exhibitions (selected) (* exhibition catalogue)

Made in Sacy

, 12 Star Gallery, London

To Have – To Own

, Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art, Vasa, Finland


, Skånes Konstförening, Malmö

A Touch of Colour

, Sotheby’s, London*

Now: Art of the 21st Century

, Phillips de Pury, London* Group Exhibition of Gallery Artists, Man&Eve Gallery, London

Terry O’Neill Award (IPG)

, Independent Photographers Gallery, Battle*
Consume Peckham Arts Festival, London*

Terry O’Neill Award (IPG)

, Fulham Palace Gallery, London*

Art in the Car Park

, CCP, Liverpool Biennial 08, Liverpool

Message in a Bottle

, James Harris Gallery, Seattle

Flash Forward

, Kathleen Cullen Fine Art, New York*

Flash Forward

, Contemporary Lennox, Toronto*

Year_07 Art Projects

, County Hall Gallery, London

Me, Myself and I

, Passagen, Linköpings Konsthall, Linköping*


, White Space Gallery, County Hall, London

Wish List

, M+R Gallery, London


, Glasburen, Stockholm


, Embassy, New York*


, The Art Works Gallery, Enefco House, Poole

Kommunens Konst

, Passagen Linköpings Konsthall, Linköping

Kagami II

, Contemporary Art Club, Paris


, ArtPlatform, Natalia Goldin Gallery, Stockholm

Wish List

, M+R Gallery, London

On The Road

, United Net-Works, Artistic Strategies, Moderna Museet, Stockholm


, Kube, Paris*

Unlock Your Imagination

, Royal College of Art, London*

Something Between

, Lower Gulbenkian Gallery, Royal College of Art, London

On The Road

, United Net-Works (SE / DK / US / UK / CA / BEL)

The Museum of…

, River Thames, London Screenings (selected) (* exhibition catalogue)


, Trafo, Budapest; International Kino, Berlin; The Other Cinema, London
25hrs International Video Art Show, Barcelona* Simrishamn International Art Film Festival, Gallery Valfisken Film Festival, Galleri 60, BildMuseet, Umeå
One Dot Zero Film Festival, ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art), London Grants and Awards (selected)
Härke Konstnärstipendium, Scholarship, Östersund
Konstnärsnämnden, Artist Grant (2-year), Stockholm Svenska Kulturfonden, Helsinki
University for the Creative Art, Research Grant, Maidstone British Council, Artist Grant, London Byggnads Kulturstipendium, Scholarship, Stockholm
Norsk-Svenska Stiftelsen, Artist Scholarship, Stockholm
Konstnärsnämndens Arbetsstipendium, Artist Grant, Stockholm IPG / Terry O’Neill Award 08, Shortlisted, London Magenta Foundation, Flash Forward - Emerging Photographers, Canada
Magenta Foundation, Flash Forward - Emerging Photographers, Canada, Winner Residencies
[Platform], Artist Grant, Vasa, Finland
HIAP – Helsinki International Artist-in-residence Programme, Artist Grant, Helsinki
Ateliers d’artistes de Sacy, Château de Sacy
Kunstnerhuset Lofoten, Svolvær, Norway
Nkd - Nordic Artists’ Centre Dale, Artist Grant, Dale, Norway Commissions

Skogsbruksvägens äldreboende

, Östersund

Pulse Project

, Pulse Contemporary Art Fair, Miami


, Sahlgrenska sjukhuset, Shortlisted

SEGRO Young Artist 2010

, Creative Junction, Whitton School, London

Land Art Mongolia 360˚

, Shortlisted


, ACE Hair & Beauty, Consume Peckham Arts Festival, London


, ArtPlatform, John Mattson Fastighets AB, Stockholm Collections
SEGRO Art Collection, London
The London Clinic Collection, London
Man&Eve Gallery, London
The Cardinal Collection, London
Linköpings Kommun Konstsamling, Linköping
Private Collections (SE/UK/US/IT) Publications (selected)

To Have/To Own

, Vasabladet, 3 Dec

Utställningen alla kan medverka i

, Östgötatidningen, 21 Oct

Dedikera en bok – medverka I en utställnig på biblioteket

, Motala Tidning, 5 Oct, Motala

Parallelistic Imitations

, Exhibition Catalogue, Essay by Jacqui McIntosh

Commentary: Freelance

, Hugo Williams, The Times Literary Supplement, 10 Sep, London

<Art academy> bohème au château

, Natalie Huet, Le Parisien, 16 Aug

A Touch of Colour

, Exhibition Catalogue, London

Now : Art of the 21st Century, Phillips de Pury & Company

, Exhibition Catalogue, London

Contemporary Photography

, HotShoe International, Dec/Jan 2009, Issue #157

Terry O’Neill Award (IPG)

, Exhibition Catalogue, London

Review: Consume Peckham Arts Festival

, Artartart, The Global Art Market, Oct, Issue 3

Flash Forward 2008

, ISBN 978-0-9739739-6-9, Magenta Publishing, Toronto

Elsa & Ingeborg, Ingeborg & Elsa

, Alaska Edition, Issue 01, London

See Through – All My Things

, Helga Steppan, Aluma, Apr, Malmö

Belongings Apart

, ISBN 978-0-9556292-0-4, Helga Steppan Publishing, London

Flash Forward 2007

, ISBN 978-0-9739739-2-1, Magenta Publishing, Toronto

The Cardinal Collection

, Exhibition Catalogue, Experian, London

Class of 2007 – Be Long A Part

, Helga Steppan, Grafik Magazine, Dec, London

Feature: Die Ordnung Der Dinge

, Qvest Magazine, Oct, Berlin

Pick of the Month

, Creative Review, Aug, London

What is After After Modern?

, NY Arts Magazine, Sep/Oct, New York

Me, Myself and I

, ISBN 978-91-976421-0-1, ArtPlatform

Egocentrism som imponerar

, Östgöta Correspondenten, 22 Aug, Linköping

Porträtt på åtta sätt

, Östgöta Correspondenten, 19 Aug, Linköping

Review: Diva

, M / The New York Art World, Apr, New York

Konstnären blir konsult

, Svenska Dagbladet, 30 May, Stockholm


, Exhibition Catalogue, Paris

Going Straight

, Exhibition Catalogue, Unlock Your Imagination, London

25hrs International Video Art Show

, Exhibition Catalogue, Barcelona Visiting Lecturer & Talks
University for the Creative Arts, Visiting Lecturer, BA(Hons) Illustration, Maidstone

To Have/To Own

, Symposium, Speaker, Platform, Vasa, Finland


, Museum of Modern Art, Artist Talk, Vasa, Finland University for the Creative Arts, Visiting Lecturer, BA(Hons) Photography, Maidstone
University for the Creative Arts, Visiting Lecturer, BA Photography, Maidstone Brighton University, Visiting Lecturer, BA Illustration, Brighton UCA, Visiting Lecturer, BA Illustration, Maidstone UCA, Visiting Lecturer, BA Graphic Design, Maidstone Château de Sacy, Artist Talk, Sacy-le-Petit
Richmond-upon-Thames College, Artist Talk, Art & Design Foundation, London
Vital Arts, Artist Talk, Royal London Hospital, London UCCA, Artist Talk, MA Printmaking, Animation and Illustration, Maidstone
University for the Creative Arts, 0.4 Lecturer, BA (Hons) Illustration, Maidstone (2007-2009: Head of Second Year Tutor; 2009-2010: Main Third Year Tutor)
Kent Institute, Key Visiting Lecturer, BA Illustration, Maidstone
Kingston University, Visiting Lecturer, BA Graphic Design & Illustration, Kingston