Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin
October 9 - November 13, 2021

Drips, flecks and letters, brushstrokes and splashes have defined Henning Strassburger’s recognizable paintings so far. His large-scale canvases might have resembled messy explosions at first but revealed twisted grids populated by deliberately placed pictorial elements at closer examination. For Die Unschuldigen II, his second solo show with the gallery, 
Henning’s paintings take a different approach.
The task of figuration that the genre of portrait seems to pose might appear like a weird choice for a painter who dedicated his work toward investigating the potentials of abstract painting in today’s digital culture. And yet, as Henning’s friends appear on canvases in roles of body builders, Berlin stereotypes and pissed hip hoppers, the idea of these individuals, their autonomy and authenticity, becomes just as abstract.
In these new works, imagined boundaries between the model’s identity as a complex of social forces and its creation inside an artwork fall flat. As John Berger famously put it in his Changing View of Man in Portrait, “every mode of individuality now relates to the whole world.” In Henning’s world of carefully calculated grids, these faces emerge more as images of a time than as images of people, as he turns his friends into elements of his pictorial universe.

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