Philipp Hennevogl: the power of everyday

Luxor

Philipp Hennevogl, Luxor, reduction print, 2015.

 

Philipp Hennevogl (born in 1968 in Würzburg, Germany) is a printmaker known to the Belgrade public through his participation at Belgrade Encounters at the 8th International Printmaking Workshop in 2015 and the subsequent group exhibition of the works from 24 May – 8 June 2016.

An experienced and sophisticated printmaker, Hennevogl is interested in the nuanced relationship of light and dark, and the patterns, contrasts and textures of everyday life. His work may be seen as a negation of Western ideological positivism, but also as a celebration of the power of everyday reality.

Most of the works in this exhibition are grayscale, often in formal geometrical structures consisting of rectangular frames (broken windows, the steel constructions of building sites) or inorganic forms, such as computer and telephone cables, which appear organic and visceral. This brings up references to Suprematist paintings, which in turn refer to the Platonic idea of mathematizing and geometerizing nature.

Plato saw the possibility for the everyday to contaminate the heaven of pure ideas. But whose are those ideas? Philipp Hennevogl is clearly not seduced by the enthusiasm for life-building in post-Wall Berlin, or carried away by the neoliberal utopia nor any ‘ostalgia’ for the old socialist order. His sceptical abstractions depict fragments of an individual functioning in the new economy, depicting the motifs of urban still life as metaphors of entropy and newfound vitality.

Hennevogl’s subject matter is also reflected in his choice of material and technique. Reduction lino cutting is a method of block printing in which each layer is printed from the same block. After each handmade print, more lino is removed from the block and each colour (usually in gradation from the lightest to the darkest) is printed on top of the last. This method can only be used for the one set of prints, as the process ‘reduces’ (destroys) the plate.

This technique, together with the delicacy of the paper (Hennevogl uses handmade Kozo-Abaca paper from Berlin based papermaker Gangolf Ulbricht Verzweigung), reflects the frailty and power of the everyday human experience – paper as skin, interface, connectedness and boundary – suggestive of a subjective inner freedom found in a dystopic but unique life.

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Born in Würzburg, Germany in 1968, Philipp studied Fine Arts at the University in Kassel. Since 1992 he has exhibited regularly in various notable galleries and art institutions, such as Museum für Moderne Kunst (Frankfurt), Museo della Xilografía (Carpi, Italien), Museum Fridericianum (Kassel), Neue Galerie (Kassel), Triennale Kleinplastik Fellbach, Triennial of Graphic Arts (Prague, Czech Republic), Grafik Triennale Frechen, ADG Nürnberg, Neuer Aachener Kunstverein (Aachen), Städtische Galerie (Bietigheim Bissingen), Kulturspeicher (Würzburg).

Hennevogl’s work can be seen in numerous international private and public collections, such as Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt, Städelsches Kunstinstitut Frankfurt, Sammlung Deutsche Bank Frankfurt, ING Belgien, Städtische Galerie Bietigheim Bissingen, Neue Galerie – Staatliche Museen Kassel, to name but a few.

Philipp Hennevogl was awarded the 2010/2011 Mainzer Stadtdrucker Prize, and the Kulturförderpreis cultural sponsorship award by the city Würzburg in 2009. He took part in the prestigious artists’ programme Werkvertrag der Künstlerförderung Berlin, 2003 and is the recipient of the grant Schloß Wiepersdorf in 2000. He lives and works in Berlin.