The Gemeentemuseum Den Haag presents an impressive interior created by the German painter Anton Henning (Berlin, 1964), whose spatial installations have drawn international attention. Henning has designed the installation Blumenstilleben No. 193 especially for the museum’s Project Hall; it consists primarily of a ten metre-wide painting and his so-called Mintrex – items of furniture reflecting light.
Henning combines abstract and figurative paintings with statues, furniture, frescoes, and special lighting in his installations, thereby creating architectural constructions. Breaking through the limits of traditional genres in this way is characteristic of this artist. In combination with Henning’s light palette of broken colours he thereby creates a total setting in which you could feel at home, but that also has a surprising effect of strangeness. It is reminiscent of a fairly recent past, but is nevertheless unmistakably contemporary. Whether the result of the use of all these various elements can be called free or applied art is left unanswered.
With a great sense of irony he refers to famous names in art history such as Courbet, Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso and in particular to Jean Arp. The title of his most recent summary exhibition in his Berlin gallery, 20 Jahre Dilettantismus…, illustrates his healthy sense of self-derision. His works display certain echoes. Themes and subjects may recur – sometimes in different forms. An example of this is the so-called ‘Henning’, a biomorphic, propeller-like shape that can be seen as the artist’s signature. As, for example, in the painting Blumenstilleben No. 193, a city-scape of Berlin, the most prominent building being the Neue Nationalgalerie – Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s prototype of the modernist building. The impressive artwork reminds of a cinemascope.
The installation Blumenstilleben No. 193 is one of a series of exhibitions in the Project Hall by means of which artists react via their works to this exceptional Berlage space.
Anton Henning lives and works in Berlin and Manker. His work is often on display in international museum exhibitions in both Europe and further afield. In 2007 the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag acquired two paintings by Anton Henning that were on view at the time in the exhibition Collectie DLD.
Following the presentation in The Hague the exhibition will transfer to the Kunsthalle, Mannheim, opening in May 2009.