Publications

Jan Henderikse: 'Ik maak niets', Anja Frenkel

Een halve eeuw geleden maakte kunstenaar Jan Henderikse deel uit van de Nederlandse Nul-groep (1961-66), conceptueel verwant aan de internationale ZERO -beweging. Daarna is hij zijn eigen weg gegaan maar bleef trouw aan zijn principe kunst te creeŽren door deze niet zelf te maken. Het gaat om het idee, vindt Henderikse nog steeds.

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© Tableau Fine Arts Magazine, Zomer 2015
How Artist Jan Henderikse Put 1,512 Bottles of Beer on the Wall at the Guggenheim By Edouard Derom

The re-fabrication of Jan Henderikse's 1962 Bottle Wall at the Guggenheim is composed of 126 beer crates filled with bottles. Photo: Christine Butler © SRGF

One of the most popular works in the Guggenheim Museum's exhibition ZERO: Countdown to Tomorrow, 1950Ė60s has been the re-fabrication of Jan Henderikse's 1962 Bottle Wall. The work is composed of 126 beer crates filled with bottles, stacked in a grid formation, 9 crates high and 14 crates wide, along the back wall of one of the bays on the museum's ramp.

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© Guggenheim blog, 2014
Rebellen van Nul nog altijd actueel, Lucette ter Borg

Nul = 0. T/m 22 jan 2012, Stedelijk Museum Schiedam

Het duurde maar een jaar of vijf: toen ging ieder weer zijns weegs. Tussen 1961 en 1966 stampten ze zichzelf luidruchtig een weg naar buiten: de 'parade der proleten', zoals ze het noemden, met een vette knipoog naar het kunstestablishment. Beeldend kunstenaars Armando (1929), Jan Henderikse (1937), Henk Peeters (1925) en Jan Schoonhoven (1914-1994) vormden de harde kern van de 'Nul-groep'. Daaromheen cirkelden dichters van 'de nieuwe stijl': Hans Verhagen, Hans Sleutelaar, Cor Vaandrager. Hun doel was een nieuwe kunst en poŽzie ontwerpen die los was van iedere expressie en inging tegen de romantische verheerlijking van het individuele kunstenaarsgenie.

Dat klinkt een tikje stijf en formeel, maar Nul, zoals de groep kortweg heette, was een van revolutionair elan, humor en inventiviteit borrelend feest dat aan de poten zaagde van zo'n beetje ieder gezaghebbend cultureel instituut in Nederland. Leden van de groep belastten zich "met het opheffen van kunstkringen en het sluiten van tentoonstellingsruimten, waaraan dan eindelijk een waardiger bestemming gegeven kan worden". Er werden manifesten geschreven die volstonden met uitspraken als: "Een schilderij is net zo goed als geen schilderij." Of: "Nul kan gemist worden als kiespijn." Vaandrager dichtte: "Er gaan 12 domme blondjes in een dozijn en 144 in een gros."

HetMuseum voorModerne Kunst in Schiedam en het Haags Gemeentemuseum schenken nu uitgebreid aandacht aan Nul. Het Haags Gemeentemuseum doet het bescheiden, met een kleine ode aan de Haagse Henk Peeters. Het betrekkelijk kleine museum in Schiedam pakt groot uit, met een overzicht van de belangrijkste leden van de Nul-beweging (helaas zonder de dichters) en plaatst deze in de context van internationale avant-gardisten als Yves Klein en Lucio Fontana.Min ofmeer tegelijk met deze tentoonstellingen verschijnen twee monografieŽn, waarbij die over Jan Henderikse veel nieuw, nog nauwelijks bekend werk bevat. Al die aandacht voor Nul is begrijpelijk. Want Nul is rebels, provocerend, in vergelijking tot buitenlandse geestverwanten als Gunther ‹cker of Heinz Mack absoluut niet gedateerd, ťn: Nul is aangenaam dubbelzinnig. In hun afkeer van traditionele kunstenaarsmaterialen werkten Peeters, Henderikse, Schoonhoven en Armando met industriŽle materialen als plastic zakjes, een koelvitrine, flessen, autobanden, prikkeldraad en nylon. Met die grondstoffen zou hun handschrift onpersoonlijk, haast machinaal worden. Dat is wat de Nul-leden in geschriften, interviews en pamfletten beweerden na te streven. Archetypisch Nul-werk zou bestaan uit reeksen van uniforme en geÔsoleerde vormen, objecten of verschijnselen. Die reeksen konden luciferdoosjes zijn (Jan Henderikse), wattenbollen (Henk Peeters), gelijkvormige witte vlakken (Jan Schoonhoven), kopspijkers en autobanden (Armando). Ordening kwam tot stand, zoals Schoonhoven het formuleerde, "uit de noodzaak voorkeur te vermijden". Maar loop je over de twee tentoonstellingen en blader je door de twee monografieŽn, dan zie je iets heel anders gebeuren. Nul bezingt niet de handschriftloosheid, maar juist het handschrift. Niet het onpersoonlijke en mechanische breekt naar buiten, maar juist het hyper-persoonlijke. Wat een wereld van verschil tussen de pompeuze en zwaar symbolistische assemblages van prikkeldraad en autobanden die Armando in elkaar zette, en Schoonhovensmeditatieve, etherische objecten van hout en wit papier-machť. Wat een verschil tussen de minimalistische waterplafonds en watermuren die Henk Peeters maakte en die nu voor de beide tentoonstellingen zijn gereconstrueerd, en de frivole werken van meesterbricoleur Jan Henderikse die drosteblikjes, koffielepeltjes, luciferdoosjes en oude stoppen verwerkte tot poŽtische - ja eigenlijk gewoon "schilderijen". Van alle "harde" Nul-kunstenaars is Jan Henderikse nog steeds de meest inspirerende. Omdat hij met een verlokkende speelsheid van geest laat zien dat je overal kunst van kunt maken, overal kunst in kunt zien, als je maar goed om je heen kijkt.
A Visual Wonderland, by Athena Newton

Between May 13th through the 17th, Amsterdam featured 120 of the most influential galleries in contemporary art. Located in the RAI, a convention center primarily recognized for its dance and sporting events, was a grandeur selection of life size installations, sketches, photography, abstracts, and sculptures (to name a few). Art enthusiasts from all over gathered to experience a fascinating assortment from both Dutch and other international works. Germany, Belgium, France, Denmark, South Africa, and Korea were just a few of the countries represented alongside The Netherlands.

Due to the extraordinary amount of work displayed, Jan Henderikse, Iris Frerichs, and Efrat Zehavi were handpicked (by yours truly) as some of the most thought provoking and unforgettable featured at Art Amsterdam. This is not to in any way undermine other artists, but to simply show a portion of Holland's finest.

Jan Henderikse
Borzo, Amsterdam

95% of men's thoughts are about sex. 95% of mine are about art.

-Jan Henderikse


Money Money Money

Disorderly. Evocative. Brilliant.

Jan Henderikse's Shredded Money valiantly challenges tradition.

At first glance, Henderikse's work is rather difficult to comprehend: A mountain of shredded U.S. currency, Curacao license plates, lit up Mother Teresa figures, quotes from the Village Voice surrounded by neon lighting; the list goes on. Like his materials, his method is just as random:

I use a lot of materials; whatever I'm interested in ... They're just simple objects from life ...

To classify Henderikse's work as Pop Art, or Kitsch would be all too easy. His aesthetics communicate a reality lacking any clear definition; it is informal, unsystematic, and esoteric: Perhaps this is the allure. It seems as if Henderikse's art is influenced by objects used in his everyday life. Through his materials we see reality and what he makes of it.

\When evaluating a pile of shredded dollars one must wonder if there is adeeper social and political message: Is Henderikse's intention to suggest the cruel and dismal nature of the current global economy? Or is this abstruse creation merely art for art's sake? What about a quote that reads:

If this is your name and you sport and dancing bear tattoo, I have been back looking for you. I read "On the Road". Great book. Call Brenda.

What can we make of this?

Put simply, Henderikse's art is experimental and cutting-edge; exactly the way art should be.

© Athena Newton, May 24, 2009 on ARTslant the #1 contemporary art network
http://www.artslant.com/ams/articles/show/7451
Grand Opening, by Gerhard Graulich

"(...) Jan Henderikse hat mit seinem Begriff der Kunst ein oeuvre geschaffen, das die VorderGründigkeit zwar nutzt, aber gerade dadurch ein neue Aura erzeugt, indem er die Oberflächligkeit und Fremdheit des Warendiskurses einbezieht. (...)"

Catalog on exhibit "Grand Opening"
© Staatliches Museum Schwerin und Stadtgalerie Kiel
Exhibition in the Waschhaus (Germany)

It all started in the late 50s, after he trained at the Free Academy in The Hague. Henderikse says in retrospect: I am the founder of the Informel group! He brought Die Monochromen back from Germany with him and organized the first exhibition gallery in Delft. In this way, Henderikse provided the practical necessities for developing a programme for himself and four artist-friends. The Dutch Informel group included, alongside the youngest, Henk Peeters, who had suggested founding the group, Jan Schoonhoven, Armando and Kees van Bohemen.

Henderikse lived in Cologne and Dusseldorf for three years after 1959. In Cologne I worked as an unskilled labourer, after doing all sorts of odd jobs illegally at first. After that I joined the Ford factory. I met Uecker, who shortly afterwards advised me to move to Dusseldorf. Gunther Uecker had been a member of the Zero group since 1958. It had been founded in the previous year by Heinz Mack and Otto Piene. They were united by a desire for art that was politically and socially autonomous. They created kinetic objects and images in which the phenomenon of light was addressed with futuristic enthusiasm, fundamentally agreeing that depicting, interpreting or psychogrammatic art were all to be rejected. Yves Klein and Lucio Fontana were important influences at this time.
The five Dutchmen followed suit in 1960 and used the same name in their own language: nul. Then Hank Peeters organized a nul exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 1962. In concrete situations the artistic closeness of the artists involved gave way to a strong sense of competition.

When I heard that the Germans intended to change the way the exhibition was put together, I drove to Arnheim in my 2CV; they had a Volvo, of course . . . There was a that was ninety-nine per cent about the three other gentlemen . . . My beer crates, for example, could be seen from all the galleries at first. Well, when they noticed that, screens went up all over the place . . . The Germans were real ideologues, all three of them, but above all they were real Germans, unanimous, speaking with one voice.
Despite all the involuntary humour of these sentences, you can imagine the angry furrows on Henderikses brow. The aseptic appearance of the pictures and installations was more or less alien to him. He was not interested in philosophical explanations of his work. Phrases like laughing is a waste of time, or even statements like creativity wears fine clothes were invented amidst shouting and yelling. From time to time this got on other peoples, and other artists, nerves. Henderikse was not very bothered about that. The others were fond of writing him off as a grumbler. He took things very seriously, and issued his polemics, saying just what he thought. As mischievously as he could. He remained subversive, and continued to prefer to look at the Netherlands from a distance. He lived in Curacao from 1963 to 1967, and then from 1968 in New York, where he still is, alternating with Berlin from 1987.

When you walk around this present exhibition in the Waschhaus (Germany), you are surprised first of all by the compelling rigour of the design. And your surprise would be justified, as Dutch artist Jan Henderikse is more likely to be known for creating a sense of claustrophobia.
There was no lack of material, as the artist, born in Delft - The Netherlands in 1936, changed his studios into stores that are now absolutely full up. This is partly because he is a manic collector. And he is also completely unable to part with anything that he finds and has incorporated into his constantly growing everyday collection. And so he needed the sympathetic argument and space-related skills of a competent curator, which Erik Bruinenberg has turned out to be on this occasion. Wolfgang Zeigerer, gallery-owner and long-standing connoisseur of Jan Henderikses work, was impressed by the clarity of the presentation. And he knows how difficult it must have been to wrest lucidity from this artist's work, as he had worked twice in a comparable situation in Kiel. The main feature is that the works shown convey his life's work in a very refreshing way. One discovers stages of his development that seem like charming references to his leisurely travels around the world. nul: beer crates take up a whole wall in Potsdam. This is a remake of the above-mentioned 1962 installation, which probably reconciled him with the past. Heineken provided the material on this occasion as well. That must have been an easy bit of sponsoring: in the Russian Hall you see dollar notes that have been shredded to make a lawn. On top of it sits a compressed monument in just the same waste paper. A jester's drama. Brooklyn: on the right and left of the devalued money are cheerful ranks of advertising flags from American supermarkets. They are singing the praises of fresh pork shoulder and other delicacies. But the advertising is no longer meeting with a response. The chest freezers are replaced with neon-lit wanted ads from American daily papers. And instead of checkouts, there is an altar with a triptych. Religious knick-knacks and lavish illumination for Christmas candles batteries enter into an unduly sugary liaison. All underpinned by the unredeemed droning of popular Christmas tunes. Touched and mocked by a long red laser finger. It is easy to see the artistic link with American Pop Art here, though this tended to remain third rate. He is a purist in his handling of the everyday. He does not aestheticize it, like Warhol or Manzoni. If he were interested in shit, it would not be his own. He is also not interested in the new design. He throws our normal looking habits out of rhythm. Changes of scale, enlargement and reduction of distance jolt our perceptions. Things that have long been overlooked because we wanted to forget there were there are put in our way. Just as they have got in his way. To this extent his will to design is essentially labyrinthine and floral. In the Waschhaus we are introduced to the delicate line drawn by a photographic lab technician when cancelling photographs, which Henderikse took over delightedly. Next to these are showcases containing shirts he has made by folding banknotes. Many people will remember the predecessors of these multiples, the cork reliefs.
If you go on looking, Ellen O'Shaughnessy smiles at you 36 times. Pulled to and fro, as in a well arranged stockroom, you stride up and down, leaving one room and then coming back again. Sometimes it is just details that draw you back. You become intoxicated with the abundance, plunge into the rubbish without being revolted; you are led about carefully, without getting tangled up. There is a little bridge, from which you look down on an artificial landscape full of conifers and bushes. A setting that would make any model railway freak's heart beat faster. And to reassure us, Henderikse put up a banal photograph of a railway compartment window that the unknown photographer had taken from his compartment. These examples may be sufficient to convey the amusement that this exhibition can provide.
I do just think it's a pity that the works did not have titles. It an open secret that Jan Henderikse retains his sense of humour in that department as well.
Inspirations with Jan Henderikse, by Renate Wiehager

Jan Henderikse's work compromises its viewers with the magic and the inscrutability of the banal, with its comic and its tragic aspects. So his work lays both things and viewers 'bare', or, putting it more precisely, it lays bare, exposes - from a point of view of truly felt agreement, of curiosity and of disinterested goodwill - the sheer simplicity and naked reality of things ("Die Braut nackt, entbloesst sogar" - "The bride naked,indeed laid bare"), and it also exposes human beings' longing, enchantedand amused, to be liberated into a spirituality that is very much of this world. Jan Henderikse thinks that art is the most reliable medium for such 'compromising'. The Latin verb 'compromittere' suggests causing to emerge, holding out the prospect, promising - and in this sense Jan Henderikse's work is among the most radical, amusing and honest promises that contemporary art has to offer. French later made the original Latin word into 'compromettre' in the sense of 'putting someone in a critical position, exposing someone (by subjecting them to the judgement of a third person)'. So the above-mentioned 'compromised' observers are not being asked for their judgement - in terms of taste, art criticism, aesthetics etc. - in Jan Henderikse's case, but find both themselves and the artistic object subjected to the 'judgement' of a third authority. This creates nervousness, uneasiness, and may even produce an angrily defensive attitude, along the lines of: 'I don't want to be caught out in my simply little desires, certainly not by art, which is supposed to help me to higher insights'. Now, Henderikse's art certainly does that, it makes us sense the hand of a 'most high', who is decorating his house - in this case St. Georgen in Wismar - with a strikingly large number of Jesus Christs, paired with just as many Madonnas, to inspire the faithful.
Something intended to bring a final scrap of kitsch piety into American children's bedrooms transforms the interior of the church in Wismar - or this is how we imagine it without having seen it - into a place of the most serene, indeed very earthly spirituality, see above.

"Acheiropoieta" ("not made by human hand") was the name Henderikse gave to an exhibition of his ready-mades in 1996; in older art this was the concept used for builder that were created supernaturally.
"Not made by hands" is program, concept and credo for Henderikse. In his work the holy protagonists, who seem to fall from the church sky like a miracle, are transformed into a case of art and a promise that a liberated, serene insight into the seriousness of the situation must be possible.

Jan Henderikse, (b. 1937 in Delft, Holland, lives in New York, Berlin and Antwerp) studied at the Free Academy in The Hague. The first exhibition of "Informel Art" took place on his initiative in the refectory of Delft University in 1958, and it was from this that the "Dutch Informel Group" emerged. In 1959 Henderikse moved to Cologne, where the first assemblages using rubbish and objets trouves were made. He came into contact with the Zero artists and became a member of the Dutch "Nul" group. From 1963-1967 Henderikse settled in Curacao, continued to fill empty crates with rubbish and completed some serial works using photographs - some taken himself, some found by chance and used as ready-mades - money and number-plates. In 1968 the artist became a resident of New York, where he continued to work on assemblages using objets trouves, but turned mainly to photographic sequences, which also appeared in book form, and film. In 1987/88 Henderikse was invited to Berlin by DAAD, the German academic exchange service, and he has had a second studio there since then. Conceptually based photographic work (using objets trouvés or re-photographed material) and ready-mades have continued to be key features of his work.
Brooklyn in Potsdam - Jan Henderikse im Waschhaus

V.S. - Der niederländische Künstler Jan Henderikse übersiedelte 1968 in die USA. Seitdem lebt und arbeitet er in Brooklyn, wurde zum wichtigsten Vertreter des Neorealismus der frühen 70er Jahre und entwickelte einen Stil, der Alltag und Kunst verbindet, ohne Pop-Art zu werden. Das Waschhaus (Schiffbauergasse 1) in Potsdam präsentiert mit der Ausstellung "Brooklyn" eine Retrospektive seines fast 40jährigen Schaffens.

Jan Henderikse, 1937 in Delft geboren, hat seit 1987 auch in Berlin ein Atelier, in dem er Unmengen von Alltagsgegenständen aufbewahrt: Spielzeug, Korken, Nippes, Tupperware, Aktfotos, Zeitungen . . . Aus diesem Fundus schöpft er Material für skurrile Objekte und Installationen.
Im ersten Raum wird der Besucher mit einem gigantischen Objekt konfrontiert, das nicht sofort als Kunstwerk erkennbar ist: In 420 gekippten Plastikkästen sind 10 000 Bierflaschen gestapelt. Das ist die Nachbildung einer 1962 gebauten Installation, die im Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam steht. Auch andere Arbeiten sind Nachbildungen oder Neuinstallierungen berühmter Werke Henderikses.

Es folgen Aktfotos und ein Polaroid-Strip. In eine Mauernische hat Henderikse mit Postkarten in kitschig goldenen Rahmen und vielen Lichtern einen Altar gebaut, dessen Basis das Sternenbanner ist. Auf einer Holzbrücke geht man über einen Wald aus Spielzeugbäumen, sieht dabei auf ein Foto, das den Blick aus dem Fenster eines Speisewagens zeigt und hört Geräusche aus einem Zug. Im letzten Raum sind diverse Multiples zu sehen, so aus US-Dollar- und D-Mark-Scheinen gefaltete Hemdchen. Die Russenhalle, in der die Rote Armee einst Fahrzeuge wartete, ist in ein Gesamtkunstwerk verwandelt. Von der Decke hängende Preisschilder machen sie zum Supermarkt, in dem es nur ein Denkmal aus Heu und kitschigen Licht- und Flitterkram gibt.

© DIE WELT

Book & Film

Archeiropoieta
Bilder, nicht von Menschenhand gemacht 1957-2010. Erste umfassende Monografie zum Werk des bedeutenden Repräsentanten der niederländischen Kunst nach 1960.
Publisher: Hatje Cantz
ISBN 978-3-7757-2597-2
All is light
Alles is licht / All is light, Documentary
2001, 53 minutes, Dutch and English subtitles.
A film by Sherman de Jesus,
Memphis Film and TV.

Buy

Jan Henderikse / 119 Hall Street, Brooklyn NY 11205, USA / Hessenplein 2, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium