Anton Henning: Midnight in Paris

Cat. Zeppelinmuseum Friedrichshafen

Exhibition catalogue, edited by Claudia Emmert
text (German/English) by Claudia Emmert
68 p with 32 coloured, at most double-paged illustrations
Format 32 x 23,5 cm, hardcover

ISBN 978-3-86442-145-7

29,80 €

The invention of Modernism in one night

»Midnight in Paris« is the title of Anton Henning’s latest exhibition; apparently, it is borrowed from Woody Allen. Claudia Emmert, director of the Zeppelin Museum in Friedrichshafen, which incidentally is located in the only historically authentic Bauhaus building in the Lake Constance area, emphasizes quite rightly in her introductory contribution the coincidence of Allen’s movie and Anton Henning's process. At one end, the presence of painting, regularly declared dead during the last hundred years, at the other the emergence of Modernism, as it initially occurred in painting right up until Duchamp appeared on the scene. But how do you now tie these ends together, and how do you deal with the expansive installative situations that have since been running wild in the White Cube? Anton Henning devises a counter concept: exhibition and book jump back to the beginnings at the height of Modernism, and gather the former avant-gardes in one salon whose chronologically strict but extremely condensed spatial sequence picks up on our well-established patterns of interpretation: In the first room the heavy pathos of the Wilhelminian style: Wagner is in the air, yet a small portrait in the image appears to depict forest ranger Adolf Hitler, as he is known to us from Ernst Jünger’s »On the Marble Cliffs«; although you might also be able to recognize young Heidegger in the portrait who posed – after the rather embarrassingly short Thousand Year Reich – as the hermit from Todtnauberg with a pointy hat, and told SPIEGEL readers: »Only a God can save us.« At this point, Modernism had finally become unstoppable in its triumphal march, as Anton Henning demonstrates in his second room, with shapes boogieing around and the artist subject once more taking off to unprecedented heights. The third room is already visible and present through a »window« in the end wall, emanating the enticing dawn of a new morning, resembling our here and now. At this point, all forms have finally been resolved, examined and reevaluated historically and in terms of functionalism, resulting in the motto: »everything goes«; which is why finally the thus structured room must hold together whatever we actually believe to be and recognize as the mise en abyme of our lives.

Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen, 26/7/2015–10/1/2016