Untitled 2

Lena Henke

Untitled 2, 2020

The ceramic tiles series is part of a group of works, the point of departure of the artist’s visit to Lisbon last year. The ceramic tile is one of Lisbon’s characteristic attributes. Henke’s use of the tile and manner of its installation, in small groups, depicts the tile as a common object, where the aesthetic of the missing or the broken tile becomes one of the work’s defining features and an element directly reflecting on the urban context of the city. A mix of multiple shades of blue further echoes the Portuguese tile tradition, appropriating its aesthetic and merging it with attributes from Henke’s practice.

The horse hoof sculpted out of one of the tiles is a defining element in Henke’s work. Enthused by her childhood (Henke grew up next to a horse farm), the horse hoof’s subject becomes a symbol of desire and fetishism and a direct link with Freudian Psychoanalysis and dream theory, which together with the subject of water (a symbol of birth, urban development and transformation) became the point of departure of Henke’s Ice to Gas exhibition.

Lena Henke has exhibited at the Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen, Germany (2019); Whitney Museum of Art, New York, (2018); Bard Hessel Museum, New York, (2018); Kunstmuseum Luzern, Switzerland, (2018); Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt em Main, Germanny, (2017); Sprengel Museum, Hannover, Germany (2017); Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit, USA, (2017); Timisoara Contemporary Art Biennale, Romania, (2017); S.A.L.T.S., Basel, Switzerland, (2016), Kunstverein Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany, (2016); Manifesta 11, Zurich, (2016); The 9th; Berlin Biennale, Berlin, Germany (2016); Le Biennale de MONTREAL, Montreal, Canada, (2016); Kunstverein Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany (2016); Triennale of Small Scale Sculpture, Fellbach, Germany (2016); The New Museums Triennial, New Museum, New York, (2015); Socrates Sculpture Park, New York, (2015); New Museum, New York (2015); Kunsthalle Bern, Bern, Switzerland (2014); White Flag Projects, St. Louis, USA, (2014); Sculpture Museum Glaskasten, Marl, Germany, (2014); Kuenstlerhaus Graz, Graz, Austria (2014); Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, USA, (2013); Kunstverein Aachen, Germany (2012), among other. In 2019 Henke received the RUBENSFÖRDERPREIS der Stadt SIEGEN and the Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen held a survey exhibition of Lena Henke’s work, summarizing the past ten years of her practice. In the same year, Henke was awarded the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant.