He’s an interesting thinker, Galerie Perrotin, Hong Kong, 2013

Press Release:

Galerie Perrotin Hong Kong is pleased to present “He’s an interesting thinker”, the gallery’s first solo exhibition by John Henderson. The exhibition will run from 18 January through 2 March 2013.

Abstract painting and the performance of “the painter” serve as conceptual markers for Henderson as he navigates the gaps between the traditionally unique aura of self-expression and the anonymous space of serial reproduction as well as the intrinsic discrepancies between an artwork versus its documentation. Executed in varied media—sculpture, photography, video, and painting—Henderson’s objects and images approach the practice of painting as a symbolic field, an activity co-opted and performed to address traditional conceptions of how artworks are made and received.

“He’s an interesting thinker” focuses on two ongoing series of work: metal casts produced from gestural abstract canvases, and photographic images depicting painted-over photographs. Both series translate the direct physicality of the artist’s studio activities into something akin to documentation, where the artist’s initial painterly investigations are available only through what are essentially reproductions.

Henderson’s series of cast metal paintings are produced at a foundry using a lost-wax casting technique. From the artist’s own original paintings, sculptural surrogates are rendered in metals such as aluminum, bronze and brass. While the original paintings are subsequently destroyed, the casts remain as an afterimage, a conflation of Henderson’s own studio labor and the outsourced labor of the foundry workers.

In the “Flowers”, the photographic series on view, Henderson paints over 4x6 inch snapshot photographs using the leftover paint from his palette. The photographs are often intentionally folded or abraded at this stage. Henderson then processes the results using a digital scanner. These machine-produced images become the final artworks. The painted-over photographs are enlarged and placed against a soft gradient background with fictive drop shadows, a sort of simulated and idealized space. The materiality of the paint and the distressed, three-dimensional quality of the snapshot paper are simultaneously flattened and accentuated by the scanner, drawing focus on the constructed nature of the final images.