Museum PR Announcements News and Information

Bergen Kunsthall announces Knut Henrik Henriksen Echoes

Bergen Kunsthall presents Knut Henrik Henriksen Echoes, open 14 September 4 November 2012.

For the first of Bergen Kunsthall’s exhibitions outside its own building this autumn Knut Henrik
Hen­rik­sen will be working with one of the city’s most visible architectural landmarks. The monumental City Hall in Bergen is centrally located at the core of the city, and since the start of construction in 1968 has been highly controversial.

The architectural design of the City Hall is the main focus of Henriksen’s twofold exhibition project for Bergen Kunsthall. With their simple resources, both projects install themselves in public space as temporary reorganizations of existing architectural situations. With cue concepts like ‘archi­tec­tural doubt’ or ‘architectural frustration’ Henriksen creates site-specific installations in the space between sculpture and architecture.

The starting point for the project is the characteristic treatment of the material on the facade of the City Hall. In the 1950s the architect Erling Viksjø took out an international patent on so-called ‘natural concrete,’ a way of treating concrete where sandblasting make the pebbles used in the casting appear clearly on the surface.

The first part of the exhibition project has the title Echoes and consists of a series of wooden sculptures assembled directly on the facade of Bergen Kunsthall. The forms can be understood as ‘architectural sound waves’ where individual elements from the City Hall building reappear on the facade of the Kunsthall as an echo. The Kunsthall thus ‘mirrors’ the City Hall inasmuch as the two buildings lie on each side of an open urban space around the lake Lille Lungårdsvann.

With his model in architectural details from the City Hall, Henriksen uses dimensions and measure­ments from Viksjø’s original working drawings, but reformulates the same shapes in a series of abstract sculptures. The sculptures are independent of the functionality of the architecture and totally emancipated from their origin as integral parts of a construction. The exhibition is an informal mash-up of two architectural landmarks, where the facade of the Kunsthall functions as a canvas for a drawing with sculptural forms that have ‘rubbed off’ from the City Hall on the other side of the water.

Like an echo in nature, where fragments of utterances are thrown back in a series of repeti­tions, Henriksen’s composition too is composed of repetitions. This repeating principle is inspired by the architecture of the City Hall, in which Viksjø did in fact use repetitions of individual modules as a main element of the facade design.

The sculptures are made of shuttering panels—a material used in the production of cast concrete. The exhibition can thus be viewed as a presentation of ‘potential works’ formed by shuttering panels, as if pointing forward to something that can become ‘finished’ concrete structures or ‘comple­ted’ architecture. The exhibition Notes to Stones, which will constitute the second part of the project, will in addition incorporate ‘completed works’ cast in natural concrete with Erling Viksjø’s method.

The unfinished, the incomplete, or the redefinable, is a conceptual strand that runs through Knut Henrik Henriksen’s artistic oeuvre. He actively deploys an element of doubt that exists in all architecture. A finished building is often regarded as a physical materialization of an architectural vision, but is in reality often the result of innumerable redefinitions, adaptations to the site, and prag­matic compromises. Henriksen’s works force their way into the spaces between the fixed-and-established and the open-and-redefinable in a public space. The doubt and frustration that are often inherent in major architectural projects then become the defining point of departure for his sculptures. Some of the formal elements from the City Hall facade which Henriksen uses are details that are crucial to the overall impression of the finished architecture, but which first had to be conceived and designed during the building process—more for practical reasons than as a planned, pre-conceived idea.

Echoes underscores this open-endedness in the gap between idea and realization. The expression ‘form follows function’ that we know from modern architecture and industrial design is turned on its head when the architecture, as here, is detached from its functionality. Instead the eman­ci­pated sculptural forms emerge with their very own capacity for questioning the architectural and urban space situation in which they are inscribed.

Knut Henrik Henriksen was born in Oslo in 1970. He lives and works in Berlin.

The exhibition has been produced by Bergen Kunsthall.
Presented in collaboration with Bergen City Hall, Bergen City Council.

Bergen Kunsthall
Rasmus Meyers allé 5

5015 Bergen
, Norway
T +47 55 55 93 10

[email protected]

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *