• Henk Visch
  • 2012-01-28T00:00:00+01:00
  • 2012-05-06T23:59:59+02:00
  • Kunsthal KAdE presents a major solo exhibition of work by artist Henk Visch. It is the first ever show in the Netherlands to feature a representative selection of sculptures from every period of Visch’s 35-year career.

Artists: Henk Visch

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The exhibition will include items on loan from private, corporate and museum collections. The exhibition is preceded by the display of Henk Visch’s six-metre high sculpture 'Noch Einmal' outside the main entrance to KAdE from Thursday 1 December 2011.

Although Henk Visch has created many different forms of sculpture, ranging from highly figurative to highly abstract, and from open and construction-oriented to monolithic and compact, his oeuvre is extremely homogenous. Since he has little interest in ‘style’ as such, it displays no major stylistic changes or break-points. His work is rooted in his artistic attitude to ‘reality’. His sculptures – and the sculptural elements in his drawings – are like echoes of the real world. They evoke the things we see around us but never resemble them exactly. They are always interpretations of forms, gestures, phenomena and shapes. Henk Visch’s work is a kind of artistic invention – an individual (and poetic) translation of things that we all see (but each perceive differently), supplemented by flashes of personal fantasy.   

Voluminous figures next to a gold-coloured construction
The experience of space is the key to Henk Visch’s sculptural practice. He is unwilling to submit the creation or exhibition of his sculptures to any programmatic, stylistic or technical system. His work functions at the level of body language and produces a physical experience, the sense of which is never determined in advance. Visch:“ In this exhibition, I will aim to place voluminous figures next to, for example, a gold-coloured, toppling open construction; works made from various materials – bronze, canvas, rope and wood, without any particular preference for any of these – will be conspicuous for either the extremely precise or, by contrast, casual use of them. The distinction between figurative and non-figurative will be irrelevant. The important thing is that the physical and emotional approach to each piece will be controlled by a feeling for the space in which it is located”.

KAdE, Amersfoort and Henk Visch
Eight years ago, De Zonnehof (Amersfoort’s previous contemporary art centre) held a one-man exhibition in the Rietveld pavilion entitled ‘Mensenhandel is verboden – Sculpturen Henk Visch’ (‘Trafficking in human beings is prohibited – Sculptures by Henk Visch’). The show was part of a project designed to elicit contemporary new designs for public benches. De Zonnehof asked Henk Visch to design a public bench for the town of Amersfoort. The resulting piece of street furniture has become a local landmark. Entitled ‘Op schoot in Amersfoort’ (‘In the lap of Amersfoort’), it is a heavily stylized sculpture of a squatting figure, on whose knees passers-by regularly stop for a rest.

The 2003 exhibition provided no more than a glimpse of Henk Visch’s oeuvre. Indeed, despite Visch’s prominence in the world of Dutch sculpture, he has never had a major retrospective in the Netherlands embracing his entire oeuvre. This is why Kunsthal KAdE has now asked him to mount the forthcoming comprehensive solo exhibition – including many items loaned from private, corporate and museum collections – in the spring of 2012.

The show will be accompanied by an extensive, illustrated catalogue including an essay by Annelie Pohlen (art critic and curator), a poem by Leo Vroman (medical researcher and poet), a piece by Annett Reckert (curator), a contribution from sculptor Richard Deacon, and an interview with Henk Visch conducted by Robbert Roos (chief curator of Kunsthal KAdE).

About Henk Visch
Henk Visch (b. Eindhoven, 1950) trained in graphic art at the St Joost academy in ’s-Hertogenbosch from 1968 to 1972. Thereafter, he lived from 1974 to 1980 in Boxtel, initially producing drawings and etchings. From 1982 to 1983 he was artist in residence in a PS 1 studio in New York. From 1983, Visch became known chiefly for his figurative sculptures. In 1984 he spent a period at the international studios of the former abbey of Fontevraud (France). From then until 1987 he taught at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam and from 1987 to 1991 at the Jan van Eyck academy in Maastricht. In 1988 he represented the Netherlands at the Venice Biennale, in 1991 he was awarded the City of Darmstadt Art Prize and the following year he was invited to participate in Documenta IX in Kassel. Later, he received the 2001 visual arts prize for the North Brabant section of the Prince Bernhard Cultural Foundation. From 1995 to 2001 he held a professorship at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildende Künste in Stuttgart and from 2005 at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Münster. From 1996 to 2011 he also produced drawings to accompany a column entitled “Mirza” in Dutch newspaper the Volkskrant.

Previous Henk Visch retrospectives have been held at venues such as the Kunstverein Hannover (1990), Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven (1989), PS 1 in New York (1992), Middelheim sculpture park, Antwerp (1996), Zonnehof in Amersfoort (2003), SMAK in Ghent (2006) and Mathildehöhe in Darmstadt (2007).