Chapardages, style & volupte'. With the latest cycle of paintings which is presented in the exhibition, he for the first time created a body of works in direct dialogue with the painting of another artist: Theodore Gericault's male nude 'Homme nu a mi-corps' from 1820, which is also on display in the show.
Upstairs Berlin is pleased to announce Chapardages, style & volupté, Anton Henning’s first solo
exhibition with the gallery.
The work of Anton Henning is determined by references to the history of art, everyday culture and also his own oeuvre. With the latest cycle of paintings which is presented in the exhibition, he for the first time created a body of works in direct dialogue with the painting of another artist: Théodore Géricault’s male nude Homme nu a mi-corps from 1820, which is also on display in the show. Henning borrows the title of the exhibition from a line from Charles Baudelaire’s poem L’Invitation au voyage (Invitation to the voyage). Thus he not only hints at the idea of the exhibition, but also sheds light on his artistic methods. Henning turns the original line “Luxe, calme et volupté “ into “Chapardages, style & volupté”, replacing luxury and peace by mischievous thievery and style, while keeping voluptuousness. The latter seems coherent when looking at Géricault’s original. The young man’s expression and pose goes beyond the schemes of academic studies of the nude, with the loincloth looking as if bashfully added to the painting afterwards. But this subliminal eroticism which the work radiates is only one part of the game for Henning. Sensuality, intuition and emotion define his examination of Géricault despite the conceptual artistic approach, most apparent in the categorisation of the paintings (e.g. Pin-Ups, Interiors, Portraits). The way Henning approaches Géricault not only unfurls an enormous variety in colour and form, it also spreads out a wide range of associations, references and quotations to the viewer. This is where his “thieveries” and “style” come into play. Alongside Géricault there are Matisse, Picasso, Bacon and eventually Henning himself who appear in these variations, forthright or hidden, sometimes tongue in cheek, sometimes awestruck. Pin-Ups and pornography find their way into Henning’s pictures just as Baudelaire does. The artist takes impressions, reinterprets, recomposes, synthesises and eventually interweaves them with his experiences and own works – a development in constant self-reflection. Thereby he succeeds in connecting all elements, without letting anything turn into a pose or end in itself, without allowing the mischievous to turn into foolery.
In this sense the exhibition is not just an examination of Géricault’s work and the history of art, but an examination of the possibilities of painting itself. Anton Henning achieves the great freedom of not having to debate formalisms and their limitations. He can celebrate painting as a sensual experience. For the viewer this means that it is not necessarily important to unravel each reference like an expert, the playful power of his works intuitively reveals itself to everyone.
Anton Henning (* 1964 in Berlin) is internationally recognised as one of the leading artists of his generation, having had numerous exhibitions in Europe, Asia and the US. This year, Magasin 3 in Stockholm and Mamco in Geneva amongst others dedicate solo exhibitions to his work. Anton Henning lives and works in Berlin and Manker/Brandenburg.
A catalogue is published by Kerber Verlag on the occasion of this exhibition.
For further information please contact Aeneas Bastian by phone at +49-(0)30-209 157 90 or by email at email@example.com.
Opening Thursday, April 19, 2012, 6 – 8 pm
Am Kupfergraben 10 - Berlin
Upstairs berlin is open Wednesday to Friday from 11 am to 6 pm and Saturday from 11 am to 4 pm as well as by appointment.