Blank Forms - Vol. 3: Henning Christiansen: Freedom Is Around The Corner Book


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Label: Blank Forms

The third issue of Blank Forms's journal is released in conjunction with Freedom Is Around The Corner, a retrospective exhibition and performance series devoted to the work of Danish composer and artist Henning Christiansen (1932-2008). Perhaps best known for his collaborations with artists such as Joseph Beuys, Nam June Paik, and Dick Higgins, Christiansen, working primarily on the remote Danish island of Møn, moved beyond his Fluxus roots to create a vast, ineffable body of work that spanned music, performance, film, and visual art over the course of a fifty-year career. Christiansen's work has, however, remained under the radar; only a few of his recordings were available until recently, and his prolific compositional and visual outputs have rarely been performed or exhibited in the United States. Freedom Is Around The Corner seeks to present Christiansen's life and work in a holistic manner that befits his dynamic practice, collecting a combination of newly discovered, never-before published, and newly translated materials. In this case, many of the materials were found in the Henning Christiansen Archive. The issue begins with a newly translated interview with Christiansen, conducted circa 2006 by writer Thomas Groetz. Two others were conducted by Francesco Conz and Michael Glasmeier in the 1990s; these three interviews offer a well-rounded picture of the late-career Christiansen through his own, good-humored lens. The fourth interview, a more experimental text conducted by Helmer Nørgaard, was originally published in the magazine DMT, in an issue devoted to Christiansen. Here, it's presented as a translated facsimile, featuring texts on Christiansen by his prominent Danish collaborators, the writer Lars Morell and the artists Per Kirkeby and Bjørn Nørgaard. We hear from other Christiansen collaborators through correspondence, including letters from Emily Harvey and Higgins, and through interviews, including newly conducted interviews with his wife and collaborator, Ursula Reuter Christiansen. Bjorn Nørgaard has also spoken with Christiansen's son Thorbjørn Reuter Christiansen; and later musical collaborators Werner Durand and Ute Wassermann. This issue also features younger artists who have grappled with Christiansen's legacy. Represented through interviews (Lucy Railton), original artworks (Graham Lambkin, Áine O'Dwyer, Stíne Janvin), and essays (Mark Harwood, Anton Lukoszevieze), these artists demonstrate the lasting and diverse impact of Christiansen's work on today's musical landscape. Taken together, the texts in this journal provide an in-depth look, at a towering but overlooked figure in the postwar musical as well as artistic avant-garde. Paper, 448 pages, 6 x 8 inches. Edition of 1000.