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Background Information about Henning Bock
ANIMALS AND LANDSCAPES
Photographically bringing animals closer is a sensitive undertaking which normally results in a colorful world of decorative exotic since, as a rule of thumb, it deals with sensation; but also because the bloodless photographic hunt is almost always aimed at the trophies which one can proudly carry home in order to impress others. Accomplishing a dialogue the way that one can with a human model in an ideal portrait sitting is almost impossible to accomplish with animals.
Henning Bock (*1965 in Hattingen) has found a third approach in which the hunt, as well as the dialogue, end with the moment of death, in that the portrayed becomes pure object. The photographer goes this final step by leaving nature for the museum. In the New York Museum of Natural History, the animals are presented in an illusionist natural environment, an undisturbed ideal landscape, an envisioned habitat. The animals themselves, however, are stuffed, paralyzed like three-dimensional photographs. Photographs of these “photographs” double the effect of adding on new information. But Henning Bock’s images disabuse. They increase artificiality, play with confusion between the real and the painted, the reality of dead fauna and the illusion of living flora, and communicate an image of nightmarish perfection on which the dust of years gone by is deposited.
Every diorama shows moments of harmony, while at the same time appearing like a curse. This is how it looks when man creates nature, when he goes about forming artificial idylls and acclaiming moments: But stay, you’re so beautiful. He sets his landscapes against this position of idealized, stereotypical showroom. The clarity and sharpness of his Icelandic phenomena are completely devoid of people or make them comical sideline figures in the middle of violent elements.
Henning Bock speaks with images of “the iconicity of nature” in mind. Everything is pure. The elementary powers lead the viewer towards an otherworldly purity while pulling him into an exhilarating depth. The power and calm of these landscapes give us certitude of fire and cold even when we can’t discern them in the photographs. And they leave us wondering how far the eye can see. If we are not already in the every day urban copse and clouded middle-European atmosphere, it’s thanks to the photographs of Henning Bock.
Dr. Boris von Brauchitsch
|1965||Born in Hattingen|
|1989-1995||Studied Photo Design at Dortmund College|
|1995-1997||Studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York|
|1997-2000||Worked as a photographer in New York|
|since 2000||Lives and works in Hamburg|
|1991||KodakYoung Talent Prize|
|2001||ADC Award New York, USA|
|2003||ADC Bronze Germany|