Perrotin Paris is pleased to host a new exhibition of works by American artist John Henderson, his sixth solo exhibition for this gallery and the second in Paris. Henderson continues to interrogate the practice of painting, performing the role of the Painter while approaching concerns about artistic production that extend beyond medium specificity.
While the process of casting is often considered in relation to permanence—as the final move, which fixes an expression into place— Henderson’s exhibition utilizes the cast object as a point of departure. Casts of paintings (realized in metal, plaster, and epoxy) are alternately repainted, cut apart and reassembled with divergent materials. An oscillation between resemblance and difference plays out across the gallery’s four rooms as the surface’s of individual paintings appear more than once, reproduced and altered in multiple locations.
By returning to and revising seemingly terminal objects, the artist proposes an analogy between casting and photography, considering their shared engagement with indexicality, seriality, cropping and omission.
This cast metal painting is produced using a process known as electrotyping. Copper ions are slowly deposited through an electrolytic bath into a conductive mold taken from an original painting. Building up one layer at time, a copper reproduction of the entire canvas is created. The result, a metallic document of the painting, is almost sculptural, emphasizing the dimensionality not only of each brush stroke, but of the canvas and frame, too. The initial painting, itself a record of gesture on canvas, is then discarded, while the final copper object presents canvas, frame, and expression as a single and comprehensive object, readily identifiable with painting.
"This piece—Floor, Wall, Ceiling (Figure), 2021—is a new reinterpretation of a work from my last show in New York (Floor, Wall, Ceiling, 2011/2019). The older piece was realized from a discarded brass work from 2011. The brass piece was cut in half and subsequently reconstituted, enlarged and elongated with wood and MDF replacement parts. The result was a mash-up of gestural, subjective brushwork and a more reﬁned, modular minimalist conﬁguration. The new work, Floor, Wall, Ceiling (Figure), 2021, expands on the scale and logic of the older work. The sculptural textures on the top cast-painting component are more exaggerated, capturing collaged elements in addition to brushwork such as raw linen swatches and found chunks of dried lithography ink scraped from the studio ﬂoor. The central wood component has a dark vertical strip that acts as an continuation of the large texture of the cast piece. The title Floor, Wall, Ceiling refers to a ﬂattening of architecture into a single plane. Figure refers to the body-sized proportions of the artwork, but also to the aforementioned anthropomorphic stripe and the decorative nature of the wood grain itself (known as ﬁgured wood)." – John Henderson
"This work is a gypsum cast of a painting. The mold was taken from a stacked triptych of stretched canvases that were collaged with dried pools of lithography ink and strips of raw linen. The cast was then painted over sparingly with ink. The white of the gypsum represents a kind of blankness or beginning, which is a contradiction. While casting may suggest a loss of color, the cast is not blank or empty but rather depicts exactingly all the sculptural details of the mold from which it was captured. By painting (or rather staining) on top of the cast gypsum, I am signaling that casting an object does not mean that it is fully resolved or permanently fixed." – John Henderson
"This piece, Frottage, Hommage (2021), consists of three parts. The top and bottom components are a cast painting which was cut in half, removing six inches of its height. The central MDF piece acts as a division or belt, piercing and separating the cast parts while returning the height of the original painting. Frottage refers to the process of rubbing a surface to transcribe its topography. Typically, this is done with a piece of paper and crayon to capture an image. In Frottage, Hommage, I covered the cast painting with black oil paint and rubbed away the paint to accentuate the texture of the cast painting’s surface. There was no image captured onto another surface, so this process is not traditional frottage, per se, but more like an oblique version of it. A resemblance. Hommage may refer to this kind of likeness of the surface treatment, but even more so to the nature of casting as a kind of tribute to the original object. The horizontal MDF interruption may also read as a kind of generic homage to Minimalism." – John Henderson
Born in 1984 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Lives and works in Chicago, Illinois, USA
Chicago-based artist John Henderson expands and develops an engagement with abstract painting and the conditions for its contemporary practice. Making use of a variety of technologies and techniques—molds, castings, digital printing, video, and photography—Henderson reforms, revises, and reproduces the manual painterly expression, invoking Minimalism and Abstract Expressionism while acknowledging a distance from their unmediated practice.
John Henderson has had solo exhibitions at venues including Galerie Perrotin New York, Hong Kong, and Paris; Proyectos Monclova, Mexico City; T293, Naples and Rome; Carl Kostyál, London; Peep-Hole, Milan; and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. His work has been included in group exhibitions such as Per_forming a collection #3, Museo MADRE, Naples, Italy; Anamericana, American Academy in Rome; Expanded Painting, Prague Biennale 6; and Phantom Limb: Approaches to Painting Today, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Henderson’s work is featured in the collections of Moderna Museet, Stockholm; the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Museo Madre, Naples; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.