Philipp von Rosen

Haïdée Henry

16 May - 11 Jul 2009

© Haïdée Henry
Doirtoir des filles, 2008
7 iron beds, roaps, buckets, water
dimension variable
"Dortoir des filles"

Opening on May 15, 2009 at 7.00 pm
Exhibition from May 16 to July 11, 2009

We will inaugurate our second show of the French artist Haïdée Henry (1978, Nîmes) on Friday, May 15 at 7.00 p.m. Henry, decorated graduate of the École nationale supérieur des beaux arts in Paris (class of Annette Messager), has received in 2008 the so-called Kaiserring Stipendium of the Mönchehaus Museum in Goslar. The scholarship was combined with the single exhibition Promenade (2008/9). Henry has also shown in single exhibitions in the space of the Hiscox Art Projects in London her Oiseaux Rebelles (2007) and in the Artothek of Cologne the show Galipette (2008). In addition to that, her works have been shown in several international group shows. Amongst these were the exhibitions Zo(o)logica in the Schunck Glaspalais in Heerlen and Urbanea in Inca, Mallorca, in 2009. In 2008, she has shown in the exhibition Flow in the Centro Cultural de Andratx, Mallorca, and in 2007 she took part in the exhibitions Prix de la jeune belge 2007 in the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Pressentiments in La Générale des Arts, Paris, and Capricci I, Casino Luxembourg – Forum d`art contemporain, Luxembourg.

We show the large installation Dortoir des filles (2008), a work consisting of seven beds, hanging from the ceiling. The beds are poorly illuminated and they are covered with mattrasses filled with straw. From them water is dropping slowly into rusty buckets. The rhythm of the drops intonates a silent concert of tones, respectively of the necessities, anxieties, and longings of the girls that give the work a part of its title. The perception of the ensemble stimulates a bundle of associations that can have to do with the process of growing-up of young people, with emotions instigated by puberty, with mental or physical injuries, with hopes and lusts. However, these are associations that remain in the field of the implied and the contingent because of the high degree of abstraction of Henry's artistic language.

Another sculpture, Fiançailles (Engagement, 2009), shows us a boar, a male wild pig, in an upright position. Instead of confronting us with the usual ebullient aggression that we expect from such an animal, we understand that it is dead. The heavy body is only carried by balloons, the beast mutates into a tragic figure, a memento mori and a monument of the perishability and the loss.

One of the 20 current drawings that we are showing too (all 2008, each 50 x 70 cm), comes back to the fate of the dead boar. However, the pitch of these drawings is not limited to negative emotions, but Haïdée Henry plays with the different possibilities of expression – from tragic through ironic. Like many of her sculptures, the drawings are characterized by an oscillation between sex and eroticism, violence and tenderness, lust and anxiety, man and animal. Mythical creatures, beings of fairy tales that are not reduced to only one meaning, one identity, but that are giving us proofs for alternative ways of life.

Tags: Haïdée Henry, Annette Messager