Anton Henning, Oasis, 2006, mixed media. Installation view, SMAK, Ghent, Belgium, 2007. All works by Anton Henning © 2007 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, NY/VG Bild-Kunst.

Anton Henning

Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (SMAK)

ALTHOUGH HE IS LITTLE KNOWN in America, Anton Henning has become one of Germany’s most compelling artists. Born in Berlin in 1964, he found art school so boring that he dropped out, opting instead to train himself. A libertine at heart, Henning not only learned to paint but before long began to sculpt, record videos, design environments, and make music. In the late 1990s, he even established a fictive band, the Manker Melody Makers, as an alter ego, assuming the roles of all its members and documenting the band’s faux performances as though they were real events. The idea of a complete and closed system at the core of this project is intrinsic to his practice in general, which frequently trades in the idiom of the Gesamtkunstwerk. His museum installations leave nothing to chance—he not only maps out the placement of his works, frames them, lights them, and chooses the surrounding wall

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