'Henneken conjures a classical image of the artist as genius and shaman whose visionary eye sees farther than the eyes of others.'
- Gesine Borcherdt, Boros Collection (2017)
Pippy Houldsworth Gallery is delighted to present Uwe Henneken’s first solo exhibition in London from 8 September to 21 October 2017. Interested in the connection between artistic and shamanic states of mind, Henneken creates paintings that offer access to hallucinatory, trance-induced scenarios. Vivid, multi-coloured and often incomprehensible, the artist's allegorical works fluctuate between different moments in time, drawing heavily from German folklore, Romantic painting and hyper-real, modern imagery.
Akin to the tragic wanderers that populate Caspar David Friedrich's sublime landscapes, Henneken's otherworldly characters in The teachings of the Transhistorical Flamingo are depicted as if undertaking some type of journey. Marching through stretches of thick forest and remote hinterland, the interlopers are beckoned further onwards by fantastical skies. A ghostly, girl-like figure is depicted in several states of self-discovery throughout the works, much like the archetypal hero which James Campbell writes about in his theory of mythology, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949), in which the main character must complete a series of arduous tasks in order to achieve enlightenment. For example, in Space in Space (2017), the girl floats in the ether whilst gazing at an ouroboros, an ancient symbol of a serpent eating its own tail used to represent the infinite cycle of life and death. A Call (2017) depicts the same diminutive figure, now on terra firma, standing in awe beneath a star-lit canopy of gnarled branches as if she has just come back to earth. The viewer also becomes a protagonist in these scenes; in Transhistorical waterfall (2017), we seem to happen upon two, rainbow-coloured figures, bleeding into their surroundings, who look directly back towards us. In the exhibition, Henneken taps into a spiritual, dream-like space where almost anything can happen, yet almost everything evades explanation.
Pippy Houldsworth Gallery will present new works by Henneken at Art Berlin from 14 to 17 September 2017 alongside early ‘cut-out’ sculptures from the 1980s by acclaimed British artist Bill Woodrow and large-scale paintings by young British painter Jadé Fadojutimi.
Uwe Henneken (born 1974, Paderborn, Germany) lives and works in Berlin. Selected solo exhibitions include those at Kunstverein Heppenheim; Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; Museum de Hallen, Haarlem; Meyer Riegger, Berlin; Gisela Capitain, Cologne; Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels; Capitain Petzel, Berlin and Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York. Selected group exhibitions include those at Tanya Leighton, Berlin; Kunstpalais Erlangen; Kunstpalais Erlangen; Olbricht Collection, Berlin and Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt. Henneken’s work is featured in the current display of the permanent collection at Sammlung Boros, Berlin.