PR: Henrik Håkansson A Hundred Pieces of a Tree (Norwegian Woods)

The installation «A Hundred Pieces of a Tree (Norwegian Woods" by the Swedish artist Henrik Håkansson premiers at KODE on Friday June 8th at 19:00.


Henrik Håkansson
A Hundred Pieces of a Tree (Norwegian Woods)
June 8–September 30, 2018 


Henrik Håkansson (b. 1968) has worked with questions relating to our natural environment in large multi-media installations for a greater part of his artistic career. In Bergen, Håkansson is invited to react to the works of the Norwegian 19th century master J.C. Dahl (1788–1857), renowned for his meticulous observations of nature. Dahl’s iconic works are presented in a newly opened exhibition at KODE.

Håkansson often places biological elements such as trees, plants, earth and insects directly in the exhibition rooms, allowing nature itself to play the main role. He has released the song of a Skylark as free records on vinyl, generated projects on wind tunnels for birds, and made paintings out of mosquitoes colliding with the canvas.

Disrupts the image of nature
Håkansson and Dahl both relate to the natural sciences of their time. Dahl discovered the Norwegian landscape artistically, alongside early cartographers and geologists, and included both meteorology and botany as a part of his nature studies. Håkansson makes use of methods that often resemble the systematic nature observations of science disciplines, such as dissection and close-up images, simultaneously emphasizing both order and disorder.

In Håkansson’s ambiguous staging, the sections of nature appear unexpected and disturbing, and disrupts the image of nature we have been taught to appreciate. In this way Håkansson debates our complex relationship to nature, not only in relation to ethics and ecology, but also to the very definition of nature that have been cultivated by art and science in the past centuries.

A memory of a tree
Developed on the concept of “a memory of a tree,” Håkansson’s project for Bergen will emanate into a site-specific installation entitled A Hundred Pieces of a Tree (Norwegian Woods). The main elements represented by a dissected black alder tree (Alnus glutinosa). The fragments reflecting an old fractured memory or a presentation of an archeological excavation, as being the remains of another culture organized within a museum context.

This is the first time Håkansson will have a solo exhibition in Norway. He has a long international career that stretches back to the mid-1990s, with participation in the Sydney Biennial (2014), the Berlin Biennale (2001), twice in the Venice Biennale (1997, 2003), and with solo exhibitions at De Appel in Amsterdam (2003), Lunds konsthall (2012), Kunsthalle Basel (1999) and Moderna Museet (2003), to name a few.


Henrik Håkansson Installation view, ‘A Forest Divided’, Lunds Konsthall. Courtesy the artist & Galleria Franco Noero. (foto: Terje Östling)