German conceptional artist Dirk Dietrich Hennig (born 1967) uses the ambivalent title of historical interventions for his work,
that he developed since 1998. How do we construct history? What role do
individual and collective memories play in its formation? These questions are
central to Dirk Dietrich Hennig´s artistic practice. Hennig constructs art
history, he draws viewers into a dense socio-political discourse about the
concept of truth.
The basis of Dirk Dietrich Hennigs work is the historical doubt. His works develop a long-standing interest in issues of history, where the term hstory shall be understood as relationships between physical, social, political, psychological and abstract negotiations, which can be seen or experienced either as isolated or as stable constructs. Rather, Hennig searches for a historical Location, which must be constantly questioned and redesigned on both the personal and social levels. In his works he highlights the concepts of abstract and psychological construct in the foreground. This shift results from an increased historical interest on uncertain or ambiguous space which is in contrast to a position of clarity, consistency and stability, and the value, even the necessity, not being in a well-defined historical location demands. The work of Hennig explore different notions of ambiguity and uncertainty as potentially productive forces, often through humorous historical stories and dramas.
“The truly virtuoso storyteller goes by the name of Dirk Dietrich Hennig (born 1967), lives and works in Hannover, and prefers to operate?as is hardly surprising?under pseudonyms. Since 1998 this conceptual artist has undertaken various "historical interventions" in an art-historical context; he thereby addresses the very public which seeks the sensational and the constantly new, the catching of whose attention represents so great a challenge. (…) Comparable to the sharp-witted stirring-up of confusion by Orson Welles who, in his famous radio adaptation of H.G. Wells' "The War of the Worlds" (1898/1938) or in the late, no less cynical film-essay "F for Fake" (1974), used documentarily disguised fiction to give impressive impact to the mechanisms of the respective medium, Hennig is fundamentally concerned with stagings of art. Inextricably entwined with this endeavor is a penetrating investigation with regard to the art world, to established measures of value, and to the practices of the exhibition process. (…) Hennig took great care with the meticulously arranged retrospective "George Cup & Steve Elliott." With close attention to detail, two collections were feigned whose individual items are now being presented for the first time in this exhibition?a witty commentary on what has recently once again become an influential parameter in the art world, namely that patronage which frequently goes hand in hand with eccentricity and self-stylization. The exclusivity which is purported here, along with a partial obscurity with regard to the provenance of the artifacts, suggests one thing above all?authenticity. (…) The assumption is not totally false that there may be recognized here a certain spitefulness towards all those who skim over texts fleetingly, half-heartedly, and with only a superficial interest, without reading them critically; on the other hand, this counterfeiting is so perfectly achieved that it is actually quite difficult to become mistrustful. But Hennig is concerned precisely with this aspect of doubt, of the recapitulation and relativization concerning one's own knowledge?and with the conditionalities and inadmissabilities inherent to canonized and consensual truths. (…) One only does full justice to Hennig's works, however, upon examining not only these aspects of institutional criticism, but also the various, well-thought-out components constituting an oeuvre of this type. For in spite of all rigorously conceptual orientation, practical execution most certainly plays an important role in the case of Hennig. (…) Hennig's consummate artistry lies, not only in his utilization of the mechanisms inherent to the game of art through a dazzling mastery of its rules, but also in his transformation of these insights into what is a fantastically effective dramaturgy for spinning a richly resonant tale."
Naoko Kaltschmidt, Springerin, Issue 1 - 2009
grants & prizes
2016 - Villa Rosenthal, Residency Grant, Jena, Germany
- Deutsches Studienzentrum Venedig, Italy
2014 - Paula Modersohn-Becker Artprize, Worpswede, Germany
2012 - Haus der Stiftungen Braunschweig, Germany
2010 - State of Lower Saxony Grant, Germany
2008 - Artprize Sparda Bank Foundation Hannover, Germany
- Grant Kunstfonds Bonn, Germany
2007 - ISCP New York Grant of Lower Saxony, Germany
2006 - Grant Kulturstiftung NRW, Germany
2004 - Residency Grant at Künstlerstätte Stuhr - Heiligenrode, Germany
2003 - Residency Grant at Künstlerhäuser Worpswede, Germany
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