Artist: Henning Bohl
Venue: Galerie der Stadt Schwaz, Schwaz, Austria
Date: September 22 – November 10, 2019
Photography: All photographs copyright and courtesy the artist and Galerie der Stadt Schwaz
Galerie der Stadt Schwaz presents the first institutional exhibition in Austria dedicated to Hamburg based artist Henning Bohl. The new objects and drawings presented in Schwaz show a further diversification of the artist’s recently developed vocabulary. Lance-like objects, metal awnings, and panne velvet draperies appear as actors in a stage-like setting. The plot is obscure, yet determined. Furnished with several arms made of lathed sticks with gloves pointing in all directions, a kind of master of ceremonies dominates the central wall of the exhibition. The form of this wall object is equally multi-perspectival. Does somebody point his fingers at others here or reach out toward a distant point in an attempt to bridge the distance with overlong arm prostheses that seem to grow at will? But these gesticulating arms also seem to echo the passive aggressive latency of medieval weapons on a wall or rather their padded descendants from contemporary live-action role-playing games.
Many of Bohl’s works show such fade-overs of historical references and their afterimages from contexts that have developed a life of their own beyond art historical canons—from the world of computer games, fantasy literature, “Deviant Art”, or heraldry. By relating different systems to each other, a wide range of possible readings are offered. The operations Bohl confronts us with are contradictory—oscillating between illusion and disillusionment, between the desire for authenticity and its simultaneous rejection, in quest of margins and tilting points along which the works are taking shape. While they show their origin and design on the one hand, they entirely give themselves to a fantastic illusionary space on the other, a space fueled by Henning Bohl’s different sources and fields of interest. Getting to the heart of an absolute form identical with itself is rendered absurd, instead the viewer finds a space of possibilities opened up that lends a positive connotation to things out of reach and celebrates the opalescent gesture.