ViennaAnton Henning: Vienna Suite No. 1, 2021 [viːˈɛnə ˈswiːt]
If we do imagine the history of art as an ongoing conversation, Anton Henning is a “master conversationist,” who speaks several languages at the table and always opens up new conversations.
The topic does not change. Henning remains conscious of the seemingly yesterday’s visual themes such as the nude, interior, still life and the landscape.
Henning works like a top chef. He has a tremendous appetite for both the new and the old, raw and braised, the peculiar and the conventional, for sharpness, harmony and irritation, irony, sensuality and romance. Almost cheekily, he mixes his ingredients with a dash of lemon and invents completely new types of images that seem like old acquaintances (from another star). The viewer finds himself again in interplay of familiar and disturbing, comfort and crankiness.
If it really was about food, you would enjoy the whole menu with your eyes closed with pleasure.
Almost like a blink of an eye is an unreasonable break during your eye candy. However, a horror story for dry theorists,
Anton Henning’s art does not seek consensus. It challenges us. It challenges us to rethink our visual memory and our previous aesthetic experience. All of this, with seemingly great ease.
It is a pleasure for him to unite contradictions in composition, the composition goes beyond the individual work into the room, the different rooms stand in a finely tuned compositional relationship to one another, so that the viewer of an exhibition finds himself in his own cosmos, in which Henning with his own furniture, carpets, lamps, tables, sculptures, drawings, paintings and even music, seems to prescribe the concept of the total work of art without being committed to it.
All of this has to be digested first. Henning is aware of that fact and somehow still serves the right digestif …
Anton Henning’s independence and playful handling of the apparently incompatible makes him the source of inspiration for numerous younger artists, and probably soon for chefs too.
George Robertson, London 2021
Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Ernst Hilger, Vienna