Meyer Riegger

Henrik Håkansson

14 Sep - 13 Oct 2012

© Henrik Håkansson
„Aug.11, 2012 The Symptoms of the Universe Studies. (6 min 29 sec)“
Installation view
Meyer Riegger Berlin
"Aug.11, 2012 The Symptoms of the Universe Studies. (6 min 29 sec)"
14 September - 13 October 2012

Meyer Riegger is pleased to present the first solo show by the artist Henrik Håkansson in our Berlin gallery.
In his work Henrik Håkansson addresses (natural) cycles, which are the symbolic subjects of his work, and are embedded within it on a physical level. Theses fragments of nature, which the artist transfers into a cultural context, result in almost surreal spatial ensembles and situations – in his work, culture and nature are simultaneously understood as reference, result and essence.
Håkanssons provocative sequences function as a subtle dialogue between man, nature and space: Plants, living beings, and their mutability through light, temperature, time, or unnatural external influences define the shape of his work, and are also its conceptual theme. The artist generates reference systems that derive from observations and also entail observations. His installations make this physically accessible within space, but they also reveal the shape of their medial transfer: the technical documentation of observation. Here this Håkansson brings nature and technology together on the visual planes of film or photography, which are juxtaposed with the natural materials of his installations. Film, video, photography, text and sound form a framework which the artist uses as a basis to access a performative realm, in which the act of observation circulates.

In his new piece, "Aug. 11, 2012 The Symptoms of the Universe studies ( 6 min 29 sec)" the focal point is the explosion of a tree, which Henrik Håkansson captured with video cameras from different perspectives at various recording speeds. On the floor of the first and second room of the exhibition the remains of the videotaped explosions are scattered: fragments of wood, twigs, log splinters and a trunk extending upwards into the room. The environment is supplemented by a six-part video installation that shows the tree exploding from the various camera perspectives. With the deceleration of vision in slow motion, the balance of forces visually shift: gravity gives way to a game of possibilities, while the energy of the tree and the explosive materialise as electricity, causing the tree to erupt. The frames show the transformation of the material as close-ups, as well as its dispersion into the surrounding landscape. The timelessness of a tree is set against the visual duration of the video recordings, while the symbolism of the tree - and its inherently extensive perspective - is reduced to the various monitor views. The sound of the videos, running at different paces distort the event, but also underline the uncanny character that is attributed to the tree, a black alder (Alnus glutinosa) in historical myths. Thus Håkanssons installation also conceptually refers to symbolism of the tree as a tree of life, and its different cultural attributes and interpretations. The title of the piece is derived from the Black Sabbath song "The Symptoms of the Universe", the duration of the film material corresponds to the length of the song, with this it describes a referential disparity: a distorted quest for what we understand as nature.

Christina Irrgang
translation by Zoe Miller

Tags: Henrik Hakansson