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PETER HOLST HENCKEL

Portrait of an Exhibition
September 18 - October 24, 2020


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With the exhibition Portrait of an Exhibition, SPECTA presents a series of new works by Peter Holst Henckel, providing a new perspective on what a portrait of today can be like. The exhibition consists of fifteen works, each of which shows and interprets a number of actual individuals who in one way or another have a central significance for the artist's work. The exhibition thus highlights the indispensable, but often invisible people, who in various ways, together with the artist, help create the art or make it possible for an audience to experience it.

Traditionally and historically, the art of portraiture has been particularly preoccupied with the men and women of power. In this way, a narrative has been created about who through history has been important and worth remembering for posterity. The art of portraiture has thus helped to define our view of history and confirmed adopted structures and hierarchies of power. However, today it seems clear that such narratives often have blind spots that omit or hide important parts of the story.
From this perspective, Peter Holst Henckel's exhibition can be understood as an attempt to provide a larger and more nuanced idea of how and by whom art is created. Many people carry with them the idea of the artist working alone, creating his works in the studio's worldly solitude. A more or less romantic tale, cultivating the perception of the artist as a self-appointed and self-sufficient genius.

The sixteen portraits in Peter Holst Henckel's exhibition give us a completely different narrative about the reality of art and the artist, and it becomes clear that when an exhibition is created and presented, many different professionals are involved. Here, we are presented to people like The Craftsman, the Framer, the Assistant and the Wife, but also to e.g. The Art Historian, The Museum Director and The Gallerists. Examples of some of the people with whom the artist is in contact and dialogue and who, by virtue of their specific ability or role, are important for the artistic work. As a collective statement, Portrait of an Exhibition should thus be seen as a tribute to the part of the art world that we usually do not really have an eye for or attribute much importance to.

Individually, the exhibition's fifteen works can best be described as embodied visual and conceptual interpretations of the respective persons, their professional role and significance in the process of creating art. For example, the portrait of the framer (Klaus Gråe) consists of a photographic portrait framed in a special wooden frame, designed so that the photo and frame together form an almost incomprehensible trompe l´oeil effect. In another portrait, the face of the female art historian (Bente Scavenius) appears fragmentarily on a high stack of art books dealing exclusively with male artists.

Peter Holst Henckel (DK, 1966) has done numerous exhibitions in Denmark and abroad and he is represented in many museums and public and private collections in Denmark and abroad. Peter Holst Henckel has for a number of years worked in the intersection of art and architecture, and among his most recent public commissions are Funen HF in Odense, Rødkilde School in Copenhagen, The New Playhouse in Copenhagen, Rambøll’s Headquarters in Ørestaden and KUA - Copenhagen University.