Henrik Placht

En frisk seilas

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Solo painting show in Ålesund Kunstforening Khaak

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PERMAFROST

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Solo exhibition with new paintings at Gallery Haaken Tjuvholmen Oslo Norway The exhibition has an opening reception the 12th of January 2017 18:00

RESSEMELDING HENRIK PLACHT PERMAFROST GALLERI HAAKEN 12/1-5/2 2017

Henrik Placht har tidligere brukt maleriet som et speil og en dialogisk form for selvrefleksjon for å bearbeide en personlig krise. I utstillingen Permafrost trekker Placht det lenger. Det fokuseres nå på vår kriserammede verden med global oppvarming og usikre tider i politikken. Om den globale oppvarmingen overhodet lar seg reversere, er et av de mest urovekkende spørsmålene menneskeheten i dag stiller seg. Den fremste forskningen på området hevder nå at det er all grunn til bekymring: Jordlag som har vært frosset gjennom årtusener tiner fortløpende og temperaturen stiger på planeten.

Gjennom Permafrost nærmer Henrik Placht seg den dagsaktuelle offentlige diskursen om global oppvarming akkompagnert av estetiske henvisninger til, blant annet, Fridtjof Nansens ekspedisjoner på Grønland og Polhavet. Titlene «Permafrost»og «Polar vortex» er hentet fra begreper rundt den kjølefunksjonen jorden har. Enkelte andre titler som “Gjennom drivisen” og Eskimoliv” er imidlertid hentet fra Fridtjof Nansens "På ski over Grønland eskimoliv" og hans ekspedisjoner i 1880 og 1890 årene. Denne koblingen til utstillingens hovedtema ligger i vår nasjons polarhistorie, Norge som sjøfartsnasjon og Nansens dokumentasjon av livet ved polare områder, herunder klima-avhandlingene fra 1926. Nansens empati med naturen , hans interesse for å utforske nye kulturer og hans tro på utvikling gjennom kriser og utfordringer, forbinder Placht og Nansen på et metafysisk plan.

Under påvirkningen fra det daglige bombardementet av bilder i små digitale formater på internett og i sosiale medier artikulerer Placht seg nå i grenselandet mellom det analoge og digitale språket. Det maleriske uttrykket har beveget seg i retning av en leken, tilsynelatende fri, glitch-estetikk knyttet til bevisst bruk av vrengte bilder som dukker opp ved uforutsette funksjonsfeil i elektronisk utstyr. Det uforutsette er tatt inn og er bearbeidet i et malerisk språk som både er villere og friskere enn tidligere, men også mer finjustert. Plachts visuelle språk er inspirert av det tyske, abstrakt ekspresjonistiske maleriet og viser slektskap til Albert Oehlen, Martin Kippenberger så vel som norske Olav Christopher Jenssen som har levet i Tyskland siden 1980 tallet. Permafrost er Henrik Placht`s 7 ende separatutstiling hos Galleri Haaken.

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Om vekten av en lettelse

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Solo show at Hydrogenfabrikken Kunsthall in Fredrikstad Norway March 2016

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LIPPE Design

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I have worked closely with Anders Hofgaard at NODE BERLIN OSLO design to implement details from one of my paintings in order to enrich the design on the coffee and tea emballage for the Company LIPPE. Im very happy that LIPPE asked me to help them to redesign their brand in order to show their fantastic products in beautiful packages and we strived for unique and a timeless design

I have worked closely with Anders Hofgaard at NODE BERLIN OSLO design to implement details from one of my paintings in order to enrich the design on the coffee and tea emballage for the Company LIPPE. Im very happy that LIPPE asked me to help them to redesign their brand in order to show their fantastic products in beautiful packages and we strived for unique and a timeless design

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Hemmeligheter på veien

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Solo show paintings at Trafo Kunsthall Asker Norway

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Den ville ferden/The wild Journey

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Solo show new paintings at Galleri Haaken Tjuvholmen Oslo Norway

Selve utstillingstittelen er denne gangen talende for en utvikling i Plachts kunstnerskap som ikke har vært planlagt, men som har sprengt seg vei gjennom et sterkt møte med nederlaget knyttet til samlivsbrudd når også barn er involvert. Den kunstneriske utviklingen har løpt parallelt med den personlige krisen og har etter hvert avstedkommet et uttrykk som er langt friere og mer åpent enn det som har vært tilfellet tidligere. I beste fall følger en slags forløsning etter perioder med sorg, og for Plachts kunstnerskap er det som om det har skjedd en vårløsning i det kompositoriske arbeidet. De aktuelle maleriene spruter av liv og uorden og trangen til å holde tøylene stramt er ikke lenger så åpenbare. Placht har i forberedelsene til den aktuelle utstillingen gitt noen av sine malerier tittel etter enkelte av Thomas Tranströmers dikt, dikt som han opplever at taler direkte til han: Preludium, Prolog og De fire temperamenter, er eksempler på slike. Utstillingen rommer i alt 10 store malerier produsert i tidsrommet februar 2014 til februar 2015.

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God morgen problemer

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New paintings for solo show at Gallery Haaken Tjuvholmen in Oslo

God morgen problemer henviser til holdningen om å møte problemer foroverlent og med engasjement. Problemer er ofte forbundet med noe negativt, men i akademiske miljøer er det som ikke umiddelbart lar seg løse gjerne assosiert med noe utfordrende og med muligheter for fornyelse og endring. Det er den sist nevnte holdningen som for tiden preger Plachts produksjon. Henrik Placht arbeider gjennomgående både med estetiske og politiske problemstillinger i sin kunst. Selv om maleriene fremdeles er abstrakte og uten konkrete visualiseringer av ting eller mennesker, behandles temaer som spenner fra økonomi, politikk og partikkelfysikk til de mer konkrete opplevelser i naturen som et møte med våren eller relasjonelle problemstillinger. Den aktuelle utstillingen har imidlertid en upretensiøs grunnholdning som gir spillerom for nytelse i farger, former, innfall og lek. Balanse, temperatur, toner, linjer, kurver, rom og autoritet er stikkord.

Placht har i God morgen problemer lagt sine tidligere stramme utrykk bak seg og etterstreber å fornye og utvikle sitt potensiale både hva bredde i billedspråk og teknikker gjelder. Maleriene er nå laget med pensler og akrylmaling på lin lerret. Om sin produksjon sier Placht denne gangen: ”Det noe fint med å arbeide så analogt og todimensjonalt og jeg synes det blir viktigere og viktigere å kunne bruke de gamle virkemidler, vise tegn og spor etter en menneskelig prosess på en ny måte.”

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Across the….. and into the ….to stay forever forgotten

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Solo show at Telemarkgalleriet Notodden from 9th of June to 25th of July 2012

The largest presentation of my work until this date.Telemarksgalleriet is a 760 m2 large kunsthalle. 56 works consisting of drawings, prints and paintings.

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Das Haptproblem

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Solo show new paintings at Maerz Contemporary Berlin

Pressemitteilung Berlin, 8. April 2013 Das Hauptproblem Der norwegische Künstler Henrik Placht zeigt Gemälde und Zeichnungen in Berlin LEBENSLAUF: Der norwegische Künstler Henrik Placht, geboren 1973 in Oslo, eröffnet am Freitag, 12. April, seine Einzelausstellung «Das Hauptprobem», in der Galerie Maerz Contemporary, in Berlin. Placht erhielt seine Ausbildung 1999 an der Weißensee Kunsthochschule in Berlin, sowie an der renommierten Kunstakademie in Bergen, Norwegen (1997-2001). Seine Arbeiten sind bereits in Hamburg, Jerusalem, Amman, Santiago, New York, Reykjavik und Stockholm in Ausstellungen gezeigt worden, und sind in privaten und öffentlichen Sammlungen auf drei Kontinenten zu finden. Sieben seiner großen Gemälde hängen in International Peace Institute in New York, bestellt von Terje Rød-Larsen, der Mann hinter dem Osloer Abkommen zwischen Israel und den Palästinensern. In Norwegen wird Placht seit 2006 von der Galleri Haaken in Oslo repräsentiert. Eine Woche nach seiner Berliner Ausstellungseröffnung, eröffnet er ebenfalls bei Galleri Haaken eine Einzelausstellung. DIE AUSSTELLUNG: Bei Maerz Contemporary zeigt Henrik Placht 13 Gemälde und sechs Arbeiten auf Papier. Die Themen der Ausstellung sind vielfältig – von Theorien der Partikelphysik (Higgs boson) bis zum deutschen Mittelstand, die Eurokrise, griechische Mythologie, Übermut sowie die Geheimisse des Lebens. Wie produziert man Kunst in einem Land, das nicht von der Eurokrise betroffen ist, und wie betrachtet man die Krise vom Außen, fragte sich der Künstler im Laufe des künstlerischen Prozesses. Alle Themen und Bilder sind einem Prozess unterlaufen, indem das schwierigste Problem entweder zu lösen oder zu eliminieren war, so der Künstler. PALÄSTINA UND BERLIN: Henrik Placht hat sich aktiv in Palästina engagiert. Er gründete The International Academy of Art Palestine (IAAP), eine Kunstakademie in Ramallah, und war von 2002 bis 2009 dort Projektleiter. Im vergangenen Jahr war die IAAP durch Khaled Hourani und Rashid Musharawi mit dem Projekt «Picasso in Palestine» auf Documenta 13 vertreten. Die IAAP wir vom Auswärtigen Amt in Norwegen unterstützt. Am 20. April, um 14.30 Uhr, spricht Henrik Placht auf dem Symposium United Nations Revisited, in der Galerie M in Berlin. Er wird über die Gründung der Kunstakademie in Ramallah sowie die Bedeutung der Kunst und Kunst-Institutionen bei der Entstehung einer Nation sprechen. Seine Idee, eine Kunstakademie in Palästina zu gründen, führt Henrik Placht auf seinen Studienaufenthalt in Berlin in 1999 zurück. Wir heißen Presse und Zuschauer zur Ausstellungseröffnung am Freitag, 12. April, 18.00 Uhr, herzlich willkommen. Die Ausstellung hat den Titel «Das Hauptproblem» erhalten.

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New Studio

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October 2011 i contacted the Architects Haugen/Zohar in relation to see if there was possibility to build a studio next to my house. The idea behind was to make time more effective and a optimal studio space for me to work in. Its probably all artists dream to do such a project, and it has been very interesting to start from an idea; a small piece of land to a great and beautiful functional building specificly designed as a studio.

The result of the fall 2011 winter 2012 with preperations for the possibility study, drawings of the studio and apartment underneath for rent.

Haugen/Zohar has made a fantastic job and im very proud of our cooperation for this building.

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Haugar Kunstmuseum

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Tore A. Holms samling: Sans og Samling

Tidsrom: 24.09.2011-31.12.2011

Tore A Holm har 5 Malerier av meg i sin Samling. Maleriene Ramallah in me & Breath ble stilt ut i denne gruppeutstillingen som viser et utvalg av samlingen.

Kjennetegnede for Holms innkjøp har helt siden han startet som 18-åring, vært interessen for enkeltverket – det gode maleri. Derfor inneholder hans samling også en lang rekke fremragende verk, som mer enn å reflektere bredden og dybden i de ulike kunstnerskap som er representerte, viser hans sans for de maleriske fulltrefferne. Her finnes viktige arbeider av europeiske og amerikanske kunstnere som Clay Ketter, Gèrard Garouste, Miquel Barceló, Antonio Tapies og Olivier Debré. Dette er kunstnere som sjelden eller aldri vises i en norsk sammenheng. Kombinert med norske kunstnere som er godt representert i Holms samling, som Håkon Bleken og Olav Christopher Jenssen, oppstår en dynamisk spenning både mellom enkeltverk og mellom ulike malere som gjør hans samling til en unik opplevelse.

Utstillingen har sitt opphav på Stavanger Kunstmuseum der direktør Peter S. Meyer har kuratert dens grunnstamme på 50 verk sammen med katalogens forfatter professor Øivind Storm Bjerke. Den skal så vandre videre til kunstmuseene i Trondheim, Tønsberg og Lillehammer, der bilder legges til og trekkes fra slik at den får sitt eget spesielle preg tilpasset hvert enkelt sted.

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Totalitarianism complex

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Solo show at Gallery Haaken 12/1 - 6/2 2011
Catalogue text by Harald Flor

Testing lines of thought and stringent structures

Henrik Placht has positioned a photo of Hannah Arendt in the centre of the middle panel of his gloomy triptych entitled "Totalitarianism Complex, which is also the telling title of this exhibition. The portrait of this Jewish American writer, who came from a philosophical and cultural background during the Weimar Republic in Germany, is part of a many-sided montage that evokes associations to the mythology of the distant past, to the bestiality of the 20th century and to the continuing brutality of our own times.

Arendt's analysis of the faceless and mindless "banality" of evil in the book "Eichmann in Jerusalem" from 1963, provoked a controversy – not only because it criticised the legal parameters of the court case, but especially because it claimed that "The Jewish Councils" were more or less consciously involved in the implementation of "The Final Solution" which had such horrific repercussions both in and outside The Third Reich. The fact that Arendt also urged Israel to make peace and enter into a territorial treaty with the Palestinians led to an even stronger branding of her as a "self-hating Jew". On her death, in 1975, she therefore had a sad premonition about the tendencies that were to add fuel to today's destructive regime.

Placht's reminiscences on Arendt's position must necessarily be visually and conceptually complex. For many years, his commitment to the Palestinian cause expressed through an interplay between his own art, curator activities and not least the building of an academy in Ramallah, has sharpened his insight and sensibility. The painterly dialogue with his older colleague Kamal Boullata and pictorial references to the tolerant Saladin of Medieval times, are consequences of Placht's ever-deepening relationship with the diversity of the Middle East – a far cry from the superficial fascination, or Orientalism, that Edward Said described as the usual attitude of the West.

The middle panel of "Totalitarian Complex" looks in many ways like a notice board, with a collection of material embracing everything from a postcard of a Francis Bacon triptych, to Placht's own drawing of the demonic Darth Wader from "Star Wars" – partly covered by a print of Eichmann's grotesque CV. The black/white portrait of Arendt is set against a dramatic background in the shape of a garish page from the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds, showing bloody clashes, and a smaller picture showing the humiliation of Palestinians at an Israeli checkpoint. A copy of a Wikileaks document can be interpreted as a link to the Iraq War, when the Americans adopted the Israelis' practice of the "Palestinian hanging position" in the torture prison Abu Ghraib (ref. the book "Standing Operating Procedure" by Philip Gourevitch/Errol Morris from 2008).

But there is no easy way to read this disturbing material. The papers hanging from the panel clearly bear the marks of having been handled while they were assembled and reflected upon. The duality of this manual and mental process is emphasised by the fact that the memorabilia are sewn onto the underlying canvas, of which only small sections are visible. The individual components of this many-faceted work are also stitched together in such a way that direct lines of communication and also metaphorical lines of thought arise.

This indicates that Placht's method is not to start from a previously devised plan, but to pursue ideas that occur to him as he works with the material. The items hung on the board are not organised to comply with a pre-defined arrangement - by giving vent to sudden impulses, the very way we look at the work becomes a dynamic process. Impulses as visually disparate as the German history painter Anselm Feuerbach's idealised depiction of the classical sacrificial atonement of Iphigenia, set against her father Agamemnon's golden murderer's mask, conjure up a wider picture of our violence-ridden, western tradition when they are confronted with the modernist Bacon's drastically deformed figures. But the theme of his triptych from 1981 is also inspired by the motif of blood vengeance that runs through Aeschylus' Ancient Greek dramatic trilogy Oresteia.

Bacon is not merely used as a thought-provoking allusion in the centre panel of the triptych; references to elements from the British painter's works are also included as visually active and thematically complementary effects on the evocative side panels. Here, Bacon's characteristic cage constructions are echoed in Placht's stringent, linear compositions, where the straight, white lines of one are balanced by those of the other – though the other way up. This produces a pattern of rationality imbued with a sinister atmosphere, due to the contrast between the white lines against the inky blackness of the two paintings' backgrounds.

Whereas Bacon often used encircling and manually emphasised brushstrokes to give his caged and brutishly howling figures a harrowing, painterly resonance, the impenetrable darkness behind Placht's cages reminds us of the coldness of death and silent screams. The middle panel's documentary presentation of Eichmann in his bulletproof glass box adds an element open to different interpretations. It also allows us to perceive the patterns of straight lines as the drawing-up of a precise plan on a blackboard, echoing the purely administrative attitude to the inhumane procedures which the dispassionate desk murderer was ordered to carry out and which he obediently executed within the SS system.

The narrow, diagonal lines cut their way like track lights over the pitch-black background of the side panels. These light-lines running through the cage constructions are also reminiscent of stroboscopic rays. In this way, we are led to think of the manipulation of sleep by sounds and light that the Pentagon recommended as one of a series of "anti-oppositional techniques" at the Guantánamo base. But the dissonances in Placht's geometrical constellations of forms are more clearly linked to the horror of Gaza. The Israelis were not content with musical storm attacks. They ordered their military band to play far more booming "instruments" in order to pacify as many inhabitants as possible and to traumatise a whole people caged in one of the world's most densely populated areas.

In other works, Placht reflects on the polarising principles that plague our planet by visually linking geometric compositions to a cosmic perspective. The titles "Cold dark matter", "Hot dark matter" and "Warm dark matter" are based on a term from astrophysics used to designate dark matter that is thought to result from gravitational effects on visible matter. Dark matter does not interact with ordinary matter, but passes through it. In the painting with the "cold" constellation, the black forms cut into the painting, bringing disharmony, thereby putting the other pictorial components in a precarious position. Whereas the surrounding darkness in the other version expands with an exterminating force which smothers the energy of the other, fading colours in the picture.

The series "Higgs' boson" was inspired by another advanced field of astrophysics. Its name derives from the Englishman Peter Higgs' hypothesis about a tiny force field particle – a boson. Scientists have tried – up until now without success – to prove this hypothesis by means of the enormous particle accelerator at the CERN laboratory in Switzerland. To the annoyance of the atheist originator of this hypothesis, Higgs' theoretical construction has been popularly called "God's particle". Placht's fascination for the phenomenon seems to arise from the physicist's idea that enormous energy can be housed in something so minute as particles. The powergame reflected in the paintings' triangular compositions of changing dimensions, shapes and colours seems visually to shift between tense concentration and calm reflection.

"Ethical Column" again represents the contrasts that up until now have characterised Placht's oeuvre most strongly, but in a new and exciting way. The vertical column-like form has been moved towards the painting's dark "night side", which, due to its obstructing bars, presents an even colder contrast to its colourful, bright and expansive counterpart. This disharmony is intensified by the spatial discord arising from the very different colours of the forms and still further because the base of the column and its capital do not extend equally into the dark and light areas of the picture.

Here too, Placht's constructive precision offers a wealth of associations and vision. The ethical aspect linked to the column's load-bearing function is lent an extra dimension due to its multi-coloured setting. In this way, the stylised column is set into in a pluralistic alliance which also intensifies the visual power of growth in the light blue section of the picture. The painting's constructivist configuration is dominated by this trusting relationship. But Placht also emphasises the counterforce arising from the totalitarian pressure of the heavily present, pitch-black zone. The artist will no doubt identify with the words of the Palestinian sculptor Mona Saudi, who, in an interview she gave me nearly 30 years ago, spoke about the importance of "expressing the grief and hope that we live with." Henrik Placht's new paintings are convincing evidence that this statement unfortunately still holds true.

Harald Flor

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Diakonhjemmet Hospital Comission

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The hospital comissioned two works for the new hospital building wich was inagurated 20th of april 2010 by the Minister of Health and Care Services Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen Theacquisitions is located in 3rd and 4th floor.

Diakonhjemmet Hospital (founded 1893) is a private hospital within the Diakonhjemmet Foundation in Oslo, Norway. The hospital is responsible for general hospital services for approximately 113,000 inhabitants in its particular sector in the western part of Oslo. The hospital serves its sector in the fields of internal medicine, surgery and radiology, plus laboratory services. The hospital is also responsible for psychiatric care within its sector, and for geriatric psychiatry within some local city wards.

Diakonhjemmet Hospital specializes in the fields of rheumatology and rheumatic surgery. The hospital is also the referral hospital for the Oslo area and the regional hospital for Southeastern Norway for services in rheumatology and rheumatic surgery.

Im looking very much forward to adapt to this situation and hope that the paintings will create a nice and calm atmosphere for the inhabitants, doctors and nurses.

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Rien Sans Peine

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Gallery Haaken Oslo Norway April - june 2009 Catalogue text by Thomas Hylland Eriksen

Henrik Plachts grenseflater.

Da de europeiske korsfarerne kom til Det hellige land for å befri det fra de vantro barbarene, møtte de en kultur som på mange måter var overlegen deres egen. Både kunst og vitenskap var mer avansert blant araberne enn i Europa. Arabiske intellektuelle kjente til gresk filosofi som var glemt lenger nord. De hadde kirurger, geografer, filosofer, musikere og arkitekter som snart skulle gi europeerne drahjelp for å komme ut av middelalderen, men ikke riktig ennå.

De kristne armeene som erobret Jerusalem i år 999 ble beskrevet i samtidige arabiske kilder som urenslige og uhøviske, omtrent slik munker lenger nord beskrev de barbariske vikingene. Byen Jerusalem var bebodd ikke bare av muslimer, men også av kristne og jøder. Det var korsfarerne som var ute av stand til å tolerere annerledes troende, ikke muslimene.

Da Jerusalem ble erobret, massakrerte korsfarerne de sivile som ikke hadde klart å komme seg ut i tide. Det ble også rapportert om kannibalisme.

Mange år senere, i 1187 for å være nøyaktig, ble Jerusalem gjenerobret, eller befridd om man vil, av Saladin (1138–1193), en kurder født i dagens Irak, som var sultan over Egypt og Syria. Om Saladin blir det sagt, både av arabiske og europeiske kilder, at han alltid holdt ord og var til å stole på. Saladin sparte sivilbefolkningen når han erobret en by fra korsfarerne, og regjerte over et land med trosfrihet. Hans engelske motpart Rikard Løvehjerte, var mindre renhårig og massakrerte flere tusen sivile i kystbyen Acre etter først å ha lovet dem fritt leide. Likevel behandlet Saladin Rikard med respekt og ærbødighet, som en likeverdig, og da Rikard var sengeliggende med feber, sendte Saladin livlegen sin for å pleie den engelske kongen.

Det er ikke tilfeldig at et av Henrik Plachts bilder har en referanse til Saladin, den vidsynte og storsinnede muslimske herskeren som var i stand til å se mennesket bak fasaden. Placht har selv i flere år arbeidet i grenseflatene, der likt og ulikt blander seg, hvor det kontinuerlig pågår forhandlinger om identitet, rettferdighet og estetikk – altså det sanne, det gode og det skjønne. Mens han bygget opp The International Academy of Art Palestine i Ramallah – et oppsiktsvekkende samarbeidsprosjekt som har skapt spennende forbindelser mellom norsk og palestinsk kunstliv – hentet han impulser både fra arabisk kunst og nåtidens plagede palestinsk–israelske samfunn, et samfunn der grenseflatene for øvrig blir erstattet av skarpe grenser i og med den israelske muren og styrket grensekontroll. Ansikt-til-ansikt erstattes av rygg-mot-rygg. Den nåværende utviklingen er ikke akkurat i Saladins ånd.

I sine nye bilder prøver Placht ut andre grenseflater enn dem som kom til uttrykk i hans ”arabiske” arbeider. Der de tidligere bildene kunne være preget av geometriske former og en ørkenaktig strenghet, kan disse bildene beskrives som lekne og frodige, og ikke minst varierte. Noe er inspirert av Dante, noe står i dialog med europeiske kunstnere fra forrige århundre som Paul Klee, noe er sjokkerende og grotesk i sin åpne skildring av lidelse og frykt.

I ”Tech noir” aner vi en eksplosjon av vegetativ og erotisk livskraft bak sløret, men de vakreste og mest viltvoksende motivene er kanskje de organiske og himmelstrebende formene i triptykonet ”The heaven of the fixed stars”. I ”Immaculate” suges noen av de samme formene sammen, mens tyngdekraften er satt ut av spill i ”Terrestrial paradise” med sin mørke sol og merkverdige, mangefargede organiske former.

Så kommer de dissonante bildene. I ”Jungle fever” faller verden fra hverandre bak persiennene.”Goma Friend” er en mørk afrikansk verden, sønderrevet av piggtråd og vold. ”Charon and the river Acharon” er en Dante-inspirert påminnelse om at det jordiske paradiset ikke kan vare, mens ”The Singularity” åpner som et knyttneveslag. Men i samtlige bilder er det uro, bevegelse og ambivalens. De er ikke enten-eller.

Jeg opplever det som om Henrik Plachts bilder henvender seg direkte til meg. Det er som om de har noe vesentlig å fortelle meg, men de nekter å si hva det er. Det er derfor jeg ikke blir ferdig med dem. Dette er betydningsfulle bilder fra en kunstner med mye på hjertet. Vakre, sterke, kontrastfylte bilder drevet av eksistensiell energi, ydmykhet og undring overfor verden. De flyter i grenseflatene, de er mellom og ikke inni. Som livet selv har de mer både-og enn enten-eller.

Thomas Hylland Eriksen

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Skateistan

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Skateistan is Afghanistan’s (and the world’s) first co-educational skateboarding school.

The school engages growing numbers of urban and internally-displaced youth in Afghanistan through skateboarding, and provides them with new opportunities in cross-cultural interaction, education, and personal empowerment programs. The students are selected from all of Afghanistan’s diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. They will develop skills in skateboarding, skateboarding instruction, healthy habits, civic responsibility, information technology, the arts, and languages. The students themselves decide what they want to learn; we connect them with teachers who will enable them to develop the skills that they consider important.

Since Skateistan has been active in Kabul, we’ve seen that Afghan youth of all ethnicities, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds love to skateboard. Skateistan brings them together, equipping young men and women to lead their communities toward social change and development. The skateboard was sold on auction sept 2009. The money went to the school in Kabul.

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Total comission Camar headquarters Stavanger

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Total comission of CAMAR headquarters in Stavanger at Hinna Park. 11 paintings are especially made for these offices. The work has been with close cooperation with Architect Jonny Johansen

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International Peace Institute (IPI) New York USA

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Permanent collection on display comissioned in 2007 by President of IPI Mr. Terje Rød Larsen

The International Peace Institute is an independent, international not-for-profit think tank with a staff representing more than 20 nationalities, located in New York across from United Nations headquarters. IPI is dedicated to promoting the prevention and settlement of conflicts between and within states by strengthening international peace and security institutions. To achieve its purpose, IPI employs a mix of policy research, convening, publishing and outreach.

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Dar al Anda Gallery Amman Jordan

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First solo exhibition in an arab country. Exhibition was kindly supported by Royal Embassy of Norway in Amman.

For me this exhibitiona was an attempt to adapt to the visual language in Islamic culture but also the gallery space with the beautiful tiles in the floor and its history. The gallery is located in second circle in Amman with breathtacing view over the mountains and to downtown in the old city.

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Eye of the Rose

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Galleri Haaken Oslo Norway 09/01/2008 - 03/02/2008

Catalogue text by Reem Fadda Unveiling the Rose:

Compositions & Constructions of the Self

The capacity to swirl all references in an organized prism of colors and to create a fixed whirlwind effect, leads us to the question of the origins and context. Let us attempt to start at the beginning. The beginning of all things in this context is “this place”. For the artist Henrik Placht has a solemn attachment to “this place”. It is not merely a reactionary measure; for it has found itself as an expression evoked from all his surroundings, experiences and interpretations in the delicate layers he has created for himself, apparent in his work and his other artistic ventures. He permeates through his art the sensation of a re-birth and a natural connection to it.

The best exemplification of this newly found sense of belonging, away from the mediocre, or the fabricated, is how he has managed to capture some of the real essence of “this place”, jumbled with emotional experiences, which he brings with him from people, incidents or even other places. He then manages to create his own original vernacular through a song of paintings. This connection cannot be deemed merely physical and not either the benign argument of only the spiritual, for this artist knows that “this place” is sick and somber with the extent of its holiness. Jerusalem is wary of its own golden domes, its religious sites and the flux of prayers that lead to nowhere. Jericho cries for normalcy. Ramallah seeks life.

This artist knows all of this, for he too, observes with the eye of he who belongs, the eye that questions “where does all this lead to”? How can we aspire to add to it something from its own folds of reality yet seemingly neglected? The place wants to be redeemed from all its prescribed holy sites, to bring us back to the living. Placht manages to severe the distances from “this place” and holds on to a level of intimate proximity. He breathes in the nostalgia and remnants of olives in the air, yet, with chagrin, he also fights against the unduly humiliation and oppression he experiences mounting before him. This is no heroic claim of a battle. This is also not another case of a visitor’s fascination with his newly found surroundings and not another person ailed with one form or the other of the Jerusalem syndrome.

This is an artist who is capable of delving in the depths of his surroundings and attempting to capture the essence of things. Apparently, it is proven scientifically that the sun shines 310 days of the year on Jerusalem. That’s why its one of the best regarded spaces for filming and photography, because it allows for a play of shadow and light for long durations of time. Through this scientific claim, “this place” would be the source-well for visual seers. The artist had revealed that the source of his inspiration for this explosive group of paintings was a graffiti placed on the doors of a closed shop in Jerusalem, Abu Il Izz’s grocery shop. This graffiti was of color-coordinated streaks, ranging from blue, to red, orange, yellow and finally pink, geometrically spread apart like a reversed pyramid, with sheers of white separating the colors. It evidently alludes to light beams and particularly the sun, especially the way the two contrasting set of streaks are separated, yet boundless and ever reaching, reminiscent of sunsets or sunrises.

In this context, Placht is aware of the details of his surroundings, capturing the very soul of the place from a spread on a window shop! He is capable from that marking point to build an oeuvre of paintings based on applied geometrical abstraction. For Plachts’ paintings draw on the same interplay, of shadow, and light, depth and surface. Some of Placht’s paintings have literally started off from the usage of the streaks as a starting point and evolved in an intricate web of layers of colors, meanings and formations. His multi-layered structures of color evoke the sense of the composition of one’s self; we are what we make of ourselves. We are constructions of our own and that of the circumstantial bidding.

It is quite interesting to examine how the multitude of Plachts’ experiences create an in depth understanding of his theoretical and practical appliances. There is a clear-cut constructivist understanding in the very demeanor of his works. His paintings allude to this constructivist approach, whereby individuals formulate new knowledge(s) from their surrounding experiences, bringing in their own versions of the truth, tinted from their backgrounds, cultures or embedded worldviews.

Placht’s approach towards constructivism, is not only exemplified in his paintings, where geometrical simplification of properties of objects and spatial presences are ever more evident. But the philosophical definition of constructivism, which focuses primarily on key notions like education, is also made obvious with his other artistic engagements. Placht has been dedicated for the past 5 years in the establishment of the International Academy of Art Palestine, a venture that has both its artistic and constructivist connotations in itself. And in avoiding the meager analysis of the motives driving an artist towards the magnitude of such a project, and rather focusing on the due effects of such a project on himself, we can at least sum up that a project of condensation has ensued. How does the artist who has placed himself in such a complex zone of codes and actions articulate his stance, his own rebirth, and his new developed sense of belonging(s)? It is not another mere attempt at bridging East & West. It is a reformulation of ones own traces and makings; it is the manufacturing of the self.

Placht has apparently infused this newly learned set of variables into his artistic practice. He the learner has accumulated from his particular experiences the sensation to reshape all the properties of his visual understandings. It has provided him with much context and this duly has lead to an abundance of formulations of compositions and ideas articulated and culminated ultimately in his layered geometric abstract paintings.

In works such as “Piet” & his series of “Mondrian Republic”, he is on the search for energy and drive of cultures. It leads him time and again to the modernist painter Piet Mondrian, to notions of geometric abstraction and simplification, but also the need to convey the movement and velocity of the surroundings and the happenings from within and without. Light, color, even sound and narrative become translatable in streaks, not unlike the ones on the doors of Abu il Izz’s shop in Jerusalem, and a basis for a prelude of adjoining lines and compositions, reflective of his emergence.

In his search for the idol in this newly found place, it leads him to the doorstep of the known Palestinian artist and art historian Kamal Bouallata, to whom he dedicates and tributes his “Sophronius”. Boullata has been famous for his abstract layered usages of Islamic motifs and Arabic calligraphy in his own paintings. Placht sees Boullata’s clear attempts to universalize the context he comes from and utilize the geometrical and abstract to send notions of harmony and connotations of existentialist thinking. Placht projects that way of thinking through recapturing some of the Islamic artistic strongholds, such as the square, and integrates these harmonious references in his own stylistic expressions. Then, Sophronius not only becomes the mystic and philosopher who valued no interventions in the search for elevation, but also he who drew harmony on earth with his counterparts.

In the search of the self, Placht’s paintings become coded with a map of geographies and references to land, far and near, he merges and locks structures. In the two paintings “To Jericho 1” & “To Jericho 2”, Placht creates an ultimate geometrical abstraction of three intertwined wedges of different colors, adjoined in an intersecting way. This abstract simplification of a landscape is layered with experience and references. Placht’s technique depends on applying coats and layer upon layer to create a stratification of elements. His “Ramallah in me” painting best describes again the complexity of “this place” and the attempt at the recreation of one’s self through it.

The essence of things and the relentless quest for the self thwarts him to the very elements of nature. It is exhilarating to find that the geometry of his paintings have found even further references and allusions in natural elements like diamonds. Through diamonds he has been able to recreate an abundance of geometrical analyses, which he has utilized in his paintings for structural references. Placht applies the different cuts of diamonds, “Eye of the Rose” (Baguette), and “Princess” cut, with the same interplay he has done with his other references. Peoples and places intermingle with the abstract and geometric. Layers transform into new entities of aesthetic and personal meaning. He then sends allusions to the rose, which is of a similar compositional intricateness. Spiraling, this rose leads us again to the core of things. For behind, his diamond-like princesses, his gemstones, his beloved places, lies the answer. And “Under the Rose” is Abu il Izz’s shop again. The eye of the rose for him will always mean “this place”, which he equates with the newly found and constructed self. Reem Fadda

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