Lena Henke

Beyond the limits of statements + conversation: A short guide to Art Basel, Liste, Dream Fair

14 June 2017

Art Basel, a contemporary art fair that also takes place in Miami Beach and Hong Kong during other parts of the year, brings together over 290 international galleries, showing work by over 4,000 artists. The huge project, opening June 15 to 18, is teeming with exhibitions and events, as well as fringe fairs LISTE and Dream Fair (see below) running alongside.

The main fair is split into sections; booth exhibitions in Galleries, solo presentations in Feature, artists up for the Baloise Art Prize in Statements, rare publications in Edition, large scale projects and performances in Unlimited, site specific works in Parcours, experimental screenings in Film, as well as a range of artists talks and panel discussions in Conversations.

Here are our recommendations:

Art Basel


Do Artists Need to Leave Africa to be Successful? Artist talk with Candice Breitz, Zanele Muholi, and Valerie Kabov, Jun 15
– Oh the Humanity! Artist talk with Cécile B. Evans and Susanne Pfeffer, Jun 17
– Archives and the Digital Dark Age. Curator talk with Glenn R. Phillips, Sabih Ahmed, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Jun 17


– ‘The Stuart Hall Project‘ (2013) by John Akomfrah, Jun 15


Concerned by the ghost without being bothered (2017) by Flaka Haliti
– City Lights (Dead Horse Bay)‘ (2016) by Lena Henke


Antenna Space presents work by Guan Xiao


– Peres Projects presents Donna Huanca‘s performance ‘Bliss (Reality Check)


Running since 1996, Liste introduces young and emerging galleries and artists, as well as a number of performance events and talks. As a special guest of this year’s programme, HeK presents a selection of artists “who utilise 3D modelling and 3D printing to explore the convoluted dialogue between the real and the virtual world,” including Morehshin Allahyari & Daniel Rourke, Lou Cantor and Tabita Rezaire, among others.

Some of the participating galleries include:

Arcadia Missa (London) featuring Maja Cule, Hannah Perry, Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings, Hannah Black and Amalia Ulman.
Carlos/Ishikawa (London) featuring Vanessa Carlos
Emalin (London) featuring Nicholas Cheveldave
Aoyama/Meguro (Tokyo) featuring Tatsumi Orimoto + Koki Tanaka
VI, VII (Oslo) featuring Eloise Hawser
Jenny’s (Los Angeles) featuring Julien Ceccaldi, Mathieu Malouf, Eirik Sæther
LambdaLambdaLambda (Prishtina) featuring Tatjana Danneberg, Hanne Lippard, Dardan Zhegrova
MadeIn (Shanghai) featuring Shen Xin, Miao Ying + WANG NEWONE
mother’s tankstation limited (Dublin) featuring Cui Jie
Project Native Informant (London) featuring Juliana Huxtable and Morag Keil
Sandy Brown (Berlin) featuring Grace Anderson, Kamilla Bischof, Quintessa Matranga + Aude Pariset

Curated by Eva Birkenstock, Liste’s 2017 Performance Project Rehearsing Intra-Activity presents a mix of artists and dancers to explore “an expanded understanding of the concept of choreography” including work by:

– New Noveta Abject Majetek, Jun 12
Dana Michel Mercurial George, Jun 14
– Sophie Jung Death Warmed Up, Jun 16
– Isabel Lewis Strange Action, Jun 15
– Jérôme Bel Cédric Andrieux, Jun 13

Dream Basel

The online art fair Dream, which opens June 13 to 18, runs concurrently with international established fairs, where the ‘booths’ hold digital files of work by artists, featuring up to 12 galleries with this one, including Berlin’s Exile featuring Pakui Hardware, Mexico City’s Lodos gallery featuring Elsa-Louise Manceaux
Lewis Teague Wright, and London’s Supplement featuring Sophie Jung
Ben Cain and Marianne Spurr, among other galleries and artists.**

Sophie Jung, ‘The Weather Is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful’ (2016) HD Video screenshot. Courtesy the artist + Supplement Gallery, London.

Header image: Lewis Teague Wright, ‘Oa4s, ‘Bunnypot’,(2017) Inkjet print on transparent film. Courtesy the artist, Lodos Gallery + Dream Basel.

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Lena Henke, Lisa Holzer, + Margaret Raspé @ Galerie Emanuel Layr, Sep 8 – Nov 11

7 September 2016

Lena HenkeLisa Holzer, and Margaret Raspé are presenting joint exhibition Fever at Vienna’s Galerie Emanuel Layr, opening September 8 and running to November 11.

Curated by _Vienna 2016 and Kari Rittenbach, the exhibition includes new works by the three artists. The exhibition text refers to Prometheus’ “reckless gift to mankind”, one that ensured “never-ending torment, and the invention of civilization as we know it”. It also looks at the ancient Greek root of economics, ‘oikos’ — or “hearth and home”, in relation to the “concept of social reproduction as women’s work in particular (within the patriarchy of Western capitalism)”.

The text further states there are still “plenty of (weak) metaphors for tending to the home fires, an expression which is sometimes taken to mean sustained passion – or maybe: sex”.  It alludes to physical ailments and shame, being other reasons that might cause passion or “the body to burn” enough to lead to —a fever.

See the FB event page for details.**

Fever @ Galerie Emanuel Layr, Sep 8 - Nov 11


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Real Fine Arts Presents, March 2 – 6

2 March 2016

New York’s Real Fine Arts gallery host group show, Real Fine Arts Presents opening March 2 and running to March 6.

There is little information given with the announcement of the event apart from a whole host of artists’ names and that it will take place in 809 Washington Street, just down from the Whitney, and inside what was previously OWENS, a designer boutique with low ceilings and brickwork walls.

Real Fine Arts PresentsHannah Black, Lena Henke (who currently has a solo show Heartbreak Highway with the gallery), Morag Keil, War Pickles (a ready-made exhibition full of pickles and preservation metaphors), Dave Miko, Liz Craft, Heji Shin, Nicolas Ceccaldi and many, many more.

See this event page for details and a more extensive list of the artists involved.**

War Pickles (2013), install shot. Courtesy the artists and House of Gaga.
War Pickles (2013), install shot. Courtesy the artists and House of Gaga.
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National Gallery 2: Empire @ Chewday’s reviewed

20 January 2016

National Gallery 2: Empire, a group exhibition running at London’s Chewday’s gallery from November 23, 2015, to January 8, 2016, involves an architectural intervention. Seventeen works are placed and presented on a dropped down ceiling structure; a metal grid hanging 130 centimetre height from the ground and forcing visitors to bend down to enter, becoming plunged into a virtual underworld. The only way of approaching the art is by navigating beneath the scaffolding and emerging through the few spots around the works which are not covered with transparent tiles.

To linger through the gallery in a distracted manner becomes unfeasible, as the viewer is forced to stand very close to the works, always at the same point in relation to them. A calculated relationship, in which the spectator looks at the works from a superior perspective, is established. Moreover, the usual power dynamics involved in this relationship between architectural and human bodies, where the former are imposed upon the latter, are here inverted.

National Gallery 2: Empire (2015-16). Exhibition view. Courtesy Chewday's, London.
National Gallery 2: Empire (2015-16). Exhibition view. Courtesy Chewday’s, London.

All the presented works respond to a simple parameter: to fit into one or two standard tile squares. A wide spectrum of dystopian compositions depict a whole material landscape made out of detritus and fragments of all different kinds. Allusions to transparency and decay in addition to everyday life elements, such as technological props and raw materials like sand, wood or resin, hint perhaps to a posthuman condition. One where other kinds of intelligences and materials could take over humanity’s privileged position in the world.

The most prominent figure in the room, placed at the very centre, is of two models stuck together. These models were formerly used in the movies Batman (1989) and War of the Worlds (2005) and together they compose Dora Budor’s piece ‘Where is your office? What do you do exactly? You know things, I think this is what you do. I think you acquire information and turn it into something awful’ (2015). Budor’s work resembles a large-scale dildo and is the only vertical contribution penetrating the show, along with Chadwick Rantanen’s purple ‘Telescopic Pole [RMS Walker Glide Balls/Grey]’ (2015) –some poles built with telescopes, crossing the whole space vertically and stabbed through purple tennis balls –and ‘Untitled (TV)’ (2015): a circular pipe labeled as TV, hanging from the grid by Bryan Dooley.

Andrew Norman Wilson, 'Global Mosquito City Proposal' (2015). Install view. Courtesy Chewday's, London.
Andrew Norman Wilson, ‘Global Mosquito City Proposal’ (2015). Install view. Courtesy Chewday’s, London.

Other works lean on the surface of the tiles, such as Andrew Norman Wilson’s dystopian Global Mosquito City Proposal’ (2015), Magali Reus’ piles of hand-built pans and Lena Henke’s sand boobs. Some works vaguely refer to architectural mock-ups, but others are actual ones, including Stuart Middelton’s spoiled model contained with some cheese and milk in a plastic vacuum bag, or Mathis Gasser’s ‘MAS: Mutual Affluence System’ (2015) made out of resin, wood, plaster and oil. Nicholas Cheveldave’s ‘The Incubator – Friends Helping Friends Grow Stronger’ (2015) is the only sound piece in the show, made with friendship bracelets and forming a plant-hanger-looking web.

Yuji Agematsu,  Gabriele Beveridge, Vincent Fecteau and Sam Lewitt seem to be adapting to the shape of a transparent container, revealing a bunch of miscellaneous entrails, such as hair, stones, paper or hard-drive magnets. A reminiscence of youth and consumerism is enacted by a plastic gremlin holding some cables and a credit card in Danny McDonald’s ‘Identity Crisis’ (2015). Fragments of organic and inorganic bodies are naively distributed and coexist on the canvas of Jill Mulleady and in the white-tree-branch-looking sculpture by Veit Laurent Kurz. Human limbs dance together with green organisms in one, and turn into a tree branch in the other.

National Gallery 2 combines cinematographic imagery with more waste-made compositions and disrupted hierarchical configurations. The dropped ceiling acts as a sort flattening structure which restricts some possibilities while opening up to many others. It feels itself like a small-scale movie set or a table game, that can be experienced through the projection of little strategies. Ultimately, the visitor’s body becomes a part of the structure, making it difficult to discern whether one is inside or outside of the story.**

Exhibition photos here.

The National Gallery 2: Empire group exhibition was on at London’s Chewday’s gallery, running November 23, 2015, to January 8, 2016.

Header image: Danny McDonald, ‘Identity Crisis’ (2015). Install view. Courtesy Chewday’s, London.

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