March 25, 2007 - S.M.A.K. - Anton Henning
March 25, 2007

Anton Henning

Oktogon, 2005

Anton Henning
January 20-April 28, 2007
Prolonged until May 6, 2007!!

9000 Ghent
Open: Tuesday – Sunday, 10am – 6pm

Anton Henning (Berlin, 1964) works in many fields. Although he is best known as a painter, sculpture and installation art are also significant elements in his oeuvre. By always trying to combine every art form in one all-embracing whole, his work seems like a contemporary version of the gesamtkunstwerk, where all the various disciplines come together and enter into dialogue with one another.

The exhibition at the S.M.A.K. is a mixture of old and new work. In addition, Henning designed a number of pieces especially for the rooms at the S.M.A.K. The largest piece he has ever made, Oktogon a huge installation that merges painting, sculpture and interior design will also be displayed.

When creating his work, Henning always starts explicitly with painting. He plays with all the mediums classic genres: portrait, nude, landscape, still-life, interiors, abstract and figurative which he reinterprets informally and lards with his personal and clearly recognisable visual idiom. Like a thread running through almost all his paintings or painting objects Henning has a characteristic trade mark, the Hennling, an abstract, three-lobed motif that can sometimes assume whirling and fanning forms and sometimes appears to be the starting point for some of his larger arabesque motifs, which can be seen in many of his abstract paintings.

Not only does Henning dabble enthusiastically in the various painting genres, but art history (recent and otherwise) also forms an inexhaustible playground which he refers to and pastiches to his hearts content. So references to the great names in painting such as Picasso and Matisse regularly crop up in his works. At the end of the nineteenth century, when exhibitions of paintings were organised as Salons, it was after all usual for them to be used to adorn a particular room. However, with the rise of modernist painting the Salons, as exhibition spaces, had to make way for the white cube, a bare white exhibition hall comparable with the present-day museum room where paintings were presented completely independently and without any direct link with the surrounding space. In fact this is still the case for a great deal of contemporary painting.

But not in Anton Hennings case. He sees the creation of the most suitable setting for his work as at least as important as the paintings themselves. A perfect example of his approach is the Oktogon, a huge octagonal installation in which he put up an entire design interior in a style somewhere between vintage and sixties into which his paintings are perfectly integrated. In this integration of works of art and interior, Henning subtly mocks the usually holy presentation of paintings in a clean, blinding white museum space.

But there is more than that. Henning also takes the integration of settings for his work to the extreme so that they actually become part of the work itself, or vice versa. In this way, many of the paintings themselves are reduced to interiors or objects, or become the subject of all manner of sculptures and installations, which in their turn are no longer paintings.

It is precisely this utter fusion of such traditional media as painting, sculpture and design and in every possible direction and combination at the same time that makes Hennings work so all-embracing. Unlike the work of many other artists, Hennings work is never linear (in the sense of keeping to a fixed line of development), but, conversely, functions entirely as a system in its own right, with various ramifications that merge into one another and in their turn generate yet more forms and images. It is a network that can go in any direction, with painting as its starting point and Henning as its only constant.
Now also at S.M.A.K.

BAR-code : Agnès Thurnauer bien faite, mal faite, pas faite 27.01 15.04.2007
Film : Marine Hugonnier 27.01 20.05.2007
Focus: François Morellet 27.01 01.04.2007
Coming Soon

Expo S.M.A.K. : Kendell Geers, Irrespektiv 21.04 26.08.2007
Extra : M for M (Michaël Dörner, Philip Huyghe, Adam Leech, Isa Melsheimer, Aam Solleveld, Herman Van Ingelgem) 21.04 26.06.2007
Film : Jesper Just 21.04 24.06.2007
Art Now : Clemens Krauss 21.04 24.06.2007

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