The Danish artist Peter Holst Henckel presents his largest solo exhibition of new photographic and video works to date at Gammel Holtegaard. Under an aesthetically seductive surface of exotic palms, gossamer butterflies and sublime scenery, the artist addresses contemporary political, cultural and social issues.
In the solo exhibition Paradise Revisited, Danish artist Peter Holst Henckel (b. 1966) subjects the concept of the best of all possible worlds to rigorous scrutiny. In a spatial installation set against the historical backdrop of Gammel Holtegaard, he stages puzzling and disturbing encounters between life and death, order and chaos, and beauty and horror.
Paradise is a symbol of the perfect, harmonic world. Holst Henckel explores the concept as a mythical and religious idea, but also as a contemporary dream of the ideal society, sustainable ecology, and personal happiness.
Like any utopia, this elevated and idyllic state necessarily calls for counterimages and questions on borders and exclusion. Revisiting the concept embodies the challenge of going beyond the polished surface to detect – and perhaps debate – the complex and brutal.
Peter Holst Henckel’s solo exhibition Paradise Revisited casts new light on Gammel Holtegaard’s late Baroque manor and grounds, continuing the gallery’s endeavour to present mutual and fruitful interactions between art and the gallery’s historical surroundings.
Several of the works in the exhibition refer directly to the architecture and spirit of Gammel Holtegaard, for example in the form of new windows providing a different view from the central room opening onto the garden. Some of the works submitted to the existing order, whilst others resist it and form their own (dis)order.
Holst Henckel’s universe is aesthetically seductive. Visual effects familiar from the worlds of media and advertising draw our attention, but under the poetic surface lurks a double vision, adding ambiguity and often political and ominous layers of meaning to his works.
The artist consistently raises existential questions that make us think about our view of the world, as well as poking holes in the boundaries between the real and the imaginary – and Holst Henckel’s total installation Paradise Revisited at Gammel Holtegaard is no exception.
Peter Holst Henckel
Peter Holst Henckel (b. 1966) graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1992 and has exhibited widely in both Denmark and abroad, for example at BRANDTS Museum of Art and Visual Culture, Horsens Art Museum, Kunsten Museum of Modern Art Aalborg, HEART Museum of Contemporary Art, and Malmö Konsthall. His works are in the collections of museums throughout Denmark. Holst Henckel has completed numerous site-specific commissions in Denmark, including for the Royal Danish Playhouse in Copenhagen, the Carlsberg Museum, the University of Copenhagen, the Royal Danish Defence College, and several Danish schools and high schools. In 2009 he was awarded the prestigious Eckersberg Medal for artists who have made an artistic contribution of the high
Programme of Events
The exhibition Paradise Revisited is accompanied by a diverse programme of events under the title Visions of Paradise. The programme includes a series of talks with the Danish author Theis Ørntoft, Professor of Anthropology Nils Bubandt, editor and art historian Cecilie Høgsbro Østergaard, as well as Holst Henckel himself. Each of them will explore views of paradise from different angles, and locate it in a contemporary context. There will also be workshops for adults and children in the school holidays, and Art & Garden Walks during the entire run of the exhibition. All events are in Danish.
Gl.Holtegaard, Attemosevej 170, 2840 Holte | Denmark