Henning Strassburger: Mai 2023

Cat. CFA Contemporary

Exhibition catalogue, edited by Bruno Brunnet and Nicole Hackert
interview (German/English) by Dana Žaja with Henning Strassburger
40 p with 34 coloured illustrations
280 x 200 mm, brochure


24,80 €


Dana Žaja: In preparation for this conversation, I had read texts about your work and found this sentence from the catalog for your first exhibition with us: »Strassburger integrates the existing reality material as part of a specific contemporary moment. Everything is recorded, linked together and continued: existential fear, fun culture, and fulfillment of lust.« When I thought about it, the first question for me was what reality even means to you?
Henning Strassburger: I like »existential fear, fun culture and fulfillment of lust« quite a bit. More reality than that is hardly possible. But I wouldn't exactly consider myself an expert on reality and its meanings.
DZ: In your notes on painting you write about abstraction: »The perfect abstract pain- ting is achieved when it has become a wallpaper«. Do you mean that in a negative sense? Then why did you paint abstractly for so long? And why not anymore?
HS: I achieved the wallpaper status last year, and I say that with satisfaction. Mission accomplished. But the desire to continue doing this as a trademark art and safe cash cow was really limited for me. I have colleagues who are better at it and raise it as big busi- ness. But I wanted to go back out into the adventure. In the last abstract painting for the time being I put everything I had into it and then closed the door for myself. I really don't want to paint the same painting every day.
DZ: Your obsession with pools and splashes gets a melancholic touch in its figurative instance, which in turn is broken by the color palette typical for you.
HS: I like to work my way through the topic, there is a lot here. I added the figure as a problem. I have the feeling that it critically looks at my painting while I am painting it. Maybe shaking its head, no idea. I can juxtapose the figures with a painting to which they have to take a position. They may also buckle a little or be overwhelmed in front of it. In any case, it gives me room to maneuver. I had exhausted that for myself with the abstract paintings.
DZ: »As long as mankind can see, there will be painting.« On the one hand, it seems as if you want the viewer to see themselves or even to immerse themselves in your paintings. On the other hand, you often mix your colors with white to keep the images flat. Is it important to you that a painting is perceived in its mediality? Or should they rather trigger self-reflection in the viewer?
HS: That sounds super esoteric. But of course, the aim of painting should be that someone takes a look at it. And flatness is the domain of painting because, conservatively speaking, it takes place on a flat surface. You can immerse yourself in the video installation or in participatory entertainment art. But when you stand in front of a painting, it always knocks on your brain synapse, telling you: PAINTING! You could see that as a lack of complexity, but it is this shortcoming that really makes it what it is in the end.
(Excerpts from the interview)

CFA Contemporary Fine Arts Berlin: 28/4 – 17/6/2023