Blank Forms presents a Henning Christiansen
retrospective, marking the first institutional survey of his work in America.
Henning Christiansen (1932-2008) was a Danish composer, musician, and artist best known as a pivotal member of the Nordic avant-garde. Enamored with, but not beholden to, the Fluxus movement he helped shape, Christiansen’s simple conception of music as sound organized in time continues to provide a model for moving beyond the degree zero polemics of the ‘60s avant-garde. His radical oeuvre consists of over 200 opuses that interpenetrate the categories of performance, ritual, happenings, sculpture, painting, tape music, text-sound composition, song, and instrumental music, all marked by the perennial acuity of his green-painted ear.
Occupying 55 Walker Street in Tribeca, from October 11 through November 2, the full retrospective of Christiansen’s visual work includes objects, works on paper, self-published magazines, and other materials made across the artist’s 50-year career. Going beyond a traditional exhibition, the experimental retrospective explores how Christiansen’s compositions and performance practices can be recontextualized within a contemporary framework, and features 5 nights of performances by an international assembly of contemporary composers and musicians who deal with Christiansen’s legacy including Werner Durand, Mark Harwood, Ute Wassermann, Thorbjørn Reuter Christiansen, Lucy Railton, James Rushford, Stíne Janvin, Graham Lambkin, Áine O’Dwyer, Lau Nau, and Apartment House. The retrospective additionally includes a film screening, showcasing the work of Christiansen’s wife and collaborator, Ursula Reuter Christiansen, at Anthology Film Archives on October 13.
Friday, October 12
: REALITY IS AROUND THE CORNER
performed by Werner Durand, Mark Harwood, and Ute Wassermann, 180 Hammer Blows Against War Monkeys
performed by Thorbjørn Reuter Christiansen
Saturday, October 13:
Ursula Reuter Christiansen film screening of The Executioner
(1971) and The Red Forest
Thursday, October 18
: Chamber Works selected and performed by Lucy Railton and James Rushford with friends, Hyggelic Opus
performed by Stíne Janvin
Friday, October 19
: Cyclic Ancestry
performed by Graham Lambkin & Áine O’Dwyer, Symphony Natura
performed by Lau Nau
Thursday, October 25 and Friday October 26
: Dejiigt vejr I dag, n’est-ce pas Ibsen
performed by Anton Lukoszevieze and Apartment House with Francis Brett, Eivind Kandal, Charlotte Mundy and Nana Bugge Rasmussen.
Organized by Lawrence Kumpf, Artistic Director of Blank Forms, in collaboration with the Henning Christiansen Archive, with support from Nordic Culture Point, the Nordic Culture Fund, Snyk, the Danish Arts Foundation, the Royal Norwegian Consulate, Goethe-Institut, the Danish Consulate General, Music Norway, and Ultima Contemporary Music Festival.