Tim Van Laere Gallery Pink Period, the third solo exhibition by Anton Henning. Few colors trigger as many contradictory associations and emotions or have as many symbolic meanings in both high as low culture as pink. The same tension and duality can also be found in the works by Anton Henning.
If we consider Art History as an ongoing conversation, Anton Henning (°1964 Berlin, lives and works in Berlin and Manker) proves himself to be a master conversationalist who speaks various different languages. His oeuvre comprises paintings, sculptures, drawings, films, photographs, musical pieces and entire environments. His oeuvre could be read as a contemporary interpretation of the Gesamtkunstwerk. Focussing equally on the search as well as the outcome, he creates a hybrid pictorial event, an anarchy of images liberated from the gravity of the isms in art history. With his motif repertory, material choices, stylistic devices and playful reinventions of the genre types, Henning doesn’t simply quote from art history, but he playfully looks for painterly potential through his own pictorial memory which has remained delitescent, discarding all spatial, temporal, and ideational contexts. He moves between modern enthusiasm and postmodern irony, between hope and melancholy, between naiveté and knowledge, empathy and apathy, unity and diversity, totality and fragmentation, purity and ambiguity.
Henning’s spatial installations have drawn international attention since the 1980s and his work has been included in the collections of, among others, the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, De Pont in Tilburg, National Museum of Art in Osaka, LACMA in Los Angeles, Museum for Modern Art in Frankfurt am Main and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.
His works display an expansive knowledge of art history. He demonstrates how to create new paintings by using established devices. By stripping any political, religious or historical meaning he cleared a path where the formal aspects can be deepened and where every mixture or combination is possible. This ongoing process is reflected in the repetitious titles of his works where he revisits and redefines the classical genres of painting such as still life, interior, portrait, nude and landscape. His works titled Pin-up often refer to some of the most adorated subjects of art history such as Madonna with Child, Leda and the Swan and Sleeping Venus. He creates a critical persiflage by combining the influence of the tradition of art history with influences from the pin-up girls and porn queens from nude photographs. Skilfully combining ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture, Henning exposes all cultural clichés and renounces all notions of the concept of ‘good taste’, creating a space where high and low could meet.
Images: Courtesy Tim Van Laere Gallery, Antwerp
Anton Henning: Pink Period
Until 18 January 2020
Tim Van Laere Gallery
Jos Smolderenstraat 50, Antwerp