Whether they are dynamic or static; sculptures by Henrik Menné are basically about process, balance and about organizing matter through both rigid systems and chance.
The major part of Mennés production consists of large-scale machines or arrangements temporarily put at work when exhibited - all sculptures are ‘in the making’ so to say. Their process is always silent, controlled and structured by repetitive movements as the machines transform a single material - plastic, wax, metal or stone - into peculiar objects. These soft-formed elements are seldom regarded as autonomous art works and destroyed or recycled when no longer on show.
Although closed and often self-referring, the system in which the process takes place both changes the environment and is sensible to changes in the environment. The instability of the physical context is therefore what causes important marginal variations in the shapes of the particular outcome.
The static sculptures by Menné contain the same immense effort and obsessive trait when it comes to putting forces such as gravity and well-known qualities ascribed to conventional materials into play. Another more conceptual approach is to be found in the few replicas of everyday objects, which are disturbed to the point where they loose the original function.
The intriguing low tech and analogue character of all works by Henrik Menné make visible the principle on which the individual system of the particular sculpture is organised. Despite this rational transparency works by Menné almost always appear as logically impossible and tremendously beautiful.
Henrik Menné (b. 1973 DK) graduated from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2002. Among his solo exhibitions counts Stuff at Galleri Tom Christoffersen (2012), Live at Ringsted Galleriet (2009), and Krognoshuset /Kunstforeningen Aura in Lund (2008). In 2014, Henrik Menné participated in the group exhibition Maskine! at Holstebro Kunstmuseum, and furthermore he has made outdoor installations such as Green Lighthouse Instrument (2009) at University of Copenhagen and the sculpture Cylinder (2008) in Eventyrhaven in Odense.
Markeringsapparatur, 2015, Wood, iron and electronics , 170 x 200 x 170 cm, The machine consists of a metal arm, circulating over the rock. On the arm is mounted a chisel, hitting the rock. The machine gets electricity from a solar cell and thereby depends on the amount of sunshine. On a sunny day in summertime, the amount of hits is every 5th minute, and in wintertime maybe one hit an hour. Over time will it make a groove in the rock. Sculpture village Selde.
Afrundingsanordning (Installationview), 2015, Iron, glass, aluminum, plastic, wood and electronics , 207 x 193 x 257 cm, The machine drips a circle of citric acid on a grey green lime stone (an exclusive lime stone in high quality, 60x60x2). The acid gradually dissolves a trace in the stone's surface, which over time rounds off the initially squared stone. Viborg Kunsthal,.
Afrundingsanordning (detail), 2015, The machine drips a circle of citric acid on a grey green lime stone (an exclusive lime stone in high quality, 60x60x2). The acid gradually dissolves a trace in the stone's surface, which over time rounds off the initially squared stone. Viborg Kunsthal.
Konfetti 1, 2014, Fan, plywood, chipboard, MDF, iron and confetti, , 200x165x200 cm. , A machine blowing out confetti from a small hole at a very slow speed, a couple of confettis every 5th second. Kunsthal Aarhus.
Fremstillingsenhed (Installation view), 2014, Build up around a machine, slowly producing white lumps of wood glue. On the floor is a beholder with wood glue, and on top of it a pump is placed, pumping the content out onto a tripod consisting of geometrical plates, mounted on a rotating metal stick. When the machine has being going on som time, the plates and the ironbars wil become covered with an organic lump of wood glue. Holstebro Kunstmuseum.
Fremstillingsenhed, 2014, Build up around a machine, slowly producing white lumps of wood glue. On the floor is a beholder with wood glue, and on top of it a pump is placed, pumping the content out onto a tripod consisting of geometrical plates, mounted on a rotating metal stick. When the machine has being going on som time, the plates and the ironbars wil become covered with an organic lump of wood glue. Holstebro Kunstmuseum.
G120 (1), 2013, Iron, compressor, sand, plaster and other electronics., 110 x 100 x 80 cm. , Consisting of a rebuild sandblaster, on which a small metal arm is mounted, and directs its beam of sand and air towards a rotating platform. The figure wears out in a manner, which changes dramatically it from its starting point. Thorvaldsen.
Savsmuldsinstrument (Saw Dust Instrument), 2012, Board, plywood, pine tree, saw dust, metal, ventilator, cable, 193 x 83 x 68 cm
400S, 2011, Iron and wood , 450 x 200 x 300 cm, "At Traneudstillingen Henrik Menné will present his largest sculpture to date – the 4.5 meter high sculpture 400S. 400S is constructed as a four-legged tower with a platform and engine house on top containing a tank of hot wax. During the exhibition period of two months, a mechanical arm in constant circular motion, dropping a sculpture of white candle wax onto the floor. The wax sculpture is shaped as a cylinder of 120 cm. in diameter, and will grow in height each day. In 2011 400S participated in the exhibition Process is Paradigm at Laboral, Gijon, Spain, and for the first time exhibited in Denmark. In the area between science and art Menné´s works houses both elements of play, material process and technical experimentation. Though their transparent mechanisms and obvious analogue technology, the works can be considered a form of ”media archaeology”, emerging an alternate reality to our modern, hyper-digitized life. At the same time, by allowing the machine to create the artwork itself, Menné disarms himself from the traditional creative artist subject. 400S confronts us as a work that in it’s constant movement and change, achieve a state of it’s own autonomous life – out of the hands of the artist." - Tranen
114L (1), 2006, Dyed glue, aluminum, iron, fan, heating element, engine, Variable dimensions (machine 300x300x250 cm), Autumn Exhibition 2006 Charlottenborg.
114L, 2006, Dyed glue, aluminum, iron, fan, heating element, engine , Variable dimensions (machine 300x300x250 cm), Autumn Exhibition 2006 Charlottenborg. "114L comprises a machine that blows strands of molten glue onto aluminum, creating fibrious enclosures suggestive of a new hybrid form, part spider web and part butterfly chrysalis. Attention to the specific and associative properties of his materials links this work to that of Hesse and her cohorts, but differences between Menné's work and that of process-oriented artists from the 1960s is just as important. In the case of Mennés works under discussion here, the objects his machines produce are not autonomous. Rather, they remain casually and conceptually dependent upon the machines he uses to make them. Menné exhibits machine and product together in a total, if temporary, environmental work. Making amechanical assembly line for products that are too fragile to be moved posits a notion of artistic value outside the familiar circuits of commercial consumption and long-term aesthetic appreciation. " - Robin Clark
56L, 2004, Glue, fan, iron, heating element, engine , Variable dimensions (machine 180 x 150 x 150 cm), "56L (2004) is perhaps the most ephemeral of Menné's works. Like 114L, its main components are molten glue and a fan that blows the glue into strands. However, where the glue in 114L was shaped into closed forms, a more entropic process was set in motion for 56L. The liquid glue was blown onto an aluminum ladder installed in the corner of a room. After several weeks of production, a nodule formed at the top of the ladder and webs of glue cascaded down the steps, across the walls onto the floor. Using the architecture of the gallery to define the boundaries of the work, (...) Menné insits on a specific experience of place and time as a part of the work." - Robin Clark
75P, 2004, Dyed paraffin wax, iron, heating element, engine , Variable dimensions (machine 150 x 150 x 150 cm)
75P (Installationview), 2004, Dyed paraffin wax, iron, heating element and engine, Variable dimensions (machine 150 x 150 x 150 cm)
Måne uden navn (Moon with no name), 2008, Camera, iron, fan, screen , Variable dimensions (approx. 200 x 150 x 150 cm), A group of works by Henrik Menné is examinating the digital and analogue by underlining the transition from space to a twodimensional picture. A central element is the camera, pointing towards a set in movement. What happens in the three dimensions of the space is transmitted directly to the screen instead being stored digitally.
Måne uden navn (Moon with no name) (1), 2008, Camera, iron, fan, screen , Variable dimensions (approx. 200 x 150 x 150 cm), (detail)
Landsskab efter hukommelse (Landscape according to memory)., 2008, Model train rails, camera mounted on cart, screen, aluminium and wood , Approx 200 x 100 x 100 cm
Landsskab efter hukommelse (Landscape according to memory). (1), 2008, Model train rails, camera mounted on cart, screen, aluminium and wood , Approx 200 x 100 x 100 cm (detail)
Horisont (Horizon), 2008, Camera, iron, plastic bucket, screen, water , Variable dimensions (approx. 130 x 200 x 100 cm)
Anordning (Device), 2008, Wood, mirrors, plastic lits, camera, small monitor, engine, lightbulps , 60 x 67 x 180 cm
Green Lighthouse Instrument, 2008, Aluminium, mirrors i.a. , Dimensions variable, The University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Science, Green Lighthouse, Cph. The commission Green Lighthouse Instrument refers both in name and idiom to a science experiments test setup. The work creates a silent, poetic and eternal experiment in exactly this institutional and architectural room it is made for. The sculpture can be found in the campus building Green Lighthouse at Copenhagen University's Faculty of Science. Daylight and the movement of the sun determines the sustainable buildings cylindrical form and the skylight falling through the room. In Mennés sculpture is the mutability of the light made visible - thus sometimes. From the center of the ceiling a large but light aluminium construction; an instrument with a the vertical telescopic arm shooting small arms with attached mirrors facing many directions. The many circular and very accurately set the mirrors capture the incoming light, reflecting it further down throughout the floors, gathering on the floor in dynamic circle shapes of up to 30 bright dots.
Green Lighthouse Instrument (1), 2008, Aluminium, mirrors i.a. , Dimensions variable , Following the movement of the sun at the sky, and thereby the time of the day and the year, the circles are changing to half circles, quarter circles and to few small spots and to an oval shape, while slowly moving from one place to another. The light spots are not always visible, but the work is constantly in a process of movement determined by marginal changes in the lighting of the surroundings. photo: Adam Mørk The University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Science, Green Lighthouse, Cph.
Cylinder, 2008, Aluminium, pump, rubber hose , Diameter 300 cm, height 50 cm , Purchased by Odense Bys Kunstfond, installed permanently in the public domain of Odense.