4, 2016

Henrik Olesen
1967, Esbjerg, Denmark. Lives in Berlin, Germany

Henrik Olesen works across various media and materials. Through his art he critically portrays social life, deconstructs the canonical foundations of official narratives and re-writes history without the boundaries and taboos of oppressive cultural dualities. In this practice of resistance, in which he questions the patriarchal, heteronormative Eurocentric subject – the basis of Western political and cultural traditions – Olesen encourages a different reading of art history, literature and science. He discusses sexualities and genders, identities and ethnicities, and demystifies the body, making its place in society evident and promoting its reinvention. The works commissioned by the 32nd Bienal consist of collages in which the artist deconstructs universal knowledge surrounding the place or concept of Hell and its representations, from classical literature such as "The Divine Comedy", the epic poem by the Dante Alighieri – to modern and subcultural imaginaries of darkness and confusion.