Hollybush Gardens’ new exhibition, The story of a man who lost interest in his job and started walking in circles, presents works of Norwegian artist Knut Henrik Henriksen. This is Henriksen’s fourth exhibition at Hollybush Gardens.
“Le Palais Idéal” is a site-specific work made in the gallery inspired by the story of Ferdinand Cheval, a French postman who, for 33 years, collected stones during his daily rounds and carried them home, intending to build his own palace. Henriksen’s “Le Palais Idéal” is in homage to Cheval, but it also holds a reflection on labour in general and art and craft in particular, as well as how society’s value system renders certain forms of labour useful and others useless.
For Henriksen there is a clear intent and interest in the social potential of material. His approach is born out of the legacy of minimalism and echoes of these gestures can be found within his practice. However, rather than the showy attitude of some of these forms, Henriksen’s sculptures rely on the meaning of fabric of the everyday. Appropriating methods and materials used to make life practical and safe, Henriksen confronts us with pebble dash, tounge and groove wood with the intention of sharing the potential of overlooked materials, habits and forms.
The engagement with building supplies and their lyrical potential is at the heart of this project, speaking of and subverting the aesthetics that govern taste, but also the politics of their use. The value system that Henriksen chips at upholds systems of class but he is invested in transformation, displacing these pre-given notions of the ugly and turning them into gold.
All images courtesy of the artist and Hollybush Gardens, London. Photographs by Andy Keate.
23 March – 13 May, Wed-Fri: 11-18, Sat: 12-17