Center for Klangkunst

“The Hammer Without a Master: Henning Christiansen’s archive”

  • Society for the Disorderly Speakers,

  • Jakob Kirkegaard,

  • Tori Wränes,

  • Leif Elggren,

  • Gordon Monahan,

  • Marja-leena Sillanpää,

  • Tobias Kirstein,

  • Claus Haxholm,

  • Andreas Führer,

  • Johannes Lund,

  • Vagn E. Olsson

Kunsthal 44 Møenen is pleased to present Hammer Without a Master: Henning Christiansen’s Archive, a festival and exhibition of new composition and visual art in a newly acquired building beside the Kunsthal’s main gallery. Hammer Without a Master responds to the compositional works of Danish Fluxus artist and composer Henning Christiansen, inaugurating the new building as the future summer residency house for young composers, curators and artists as well as permanent home of the Henning Christiansen Archive.

Curated by Chiara Giovando, the exhibition invites eleven sound artists and composers to create several site-specific works and two newly commissioned compositions that will launch the future site of Fluxus artist and composer Henning Christiansen’s archive. Artists Leif Elggren (SD), Andreas Führer (DK), Jacob Kirkegaard (DK), TR Kirstein with Claus Haxholm (DK), Johannes Lund (DK), Gordon Monahan (CA), Vagn E. Olsson (DK), Marja-leena Sillanpää (SD), Society for the Disorderly Speakers (DK) and Tori Wrånes (NO) have been invited to respond to the archive and work of Christiansen. Also woven into the exhibition are select elements from the archive itself as well as iconic sculpture from Henning Christiansen and painting by Ursula Reuter Christiansen.

In conjunction with the exhibition’s opening reception, June 22, 14:00 – 19:00 there will be ongoing performance at and around Kunsthal 44Møen and the following day, June 23, 13:00 in nearby Fanefjord Kirke.

Among several new works included are a large-scale site-specific musical instrument using the exhibition floor as a soundboard by Vagn E. Olsson, a series of kinetic sound sculptures by Gordon Monahan and live vocal performance by artist and composer Tori Wrånes.

Hammer Without a Master both includes and responds directly to material in the archive while celebrating contemporary practices that have a relationship to the Fluxus impulse in more remote ways. There has not as yet been serious art historical research made to fortify the rambling tie-lines between contemporary sound art and experimental music practices of noise, improvised music or punk to Fluxus, still there is a spirit that reaches out of Fluxus into each of these areas in a play with the tension between structure and chaos, a strategic abandon that still feels vital.

Hammer Without a Master celebrates the active embrace of experimentation and the loss control that unfolds spontaneously in direct response to the moment. Recently acquired by Christiansen’s long-time friend, curator and collector René Block, the Christiansen Archive consists of countless texts, scores, recordings, and a diligent cataloging of correspondence between Christiansen and his peers; including Dick Higgins, Allan Kaprow, Nam June Paik and Joseph Beuys. A recently acquired building that rests beside Kunsthal 44 Møen in Askeby, on the island of Møn will be converted and dedicated to house the Christiansen archive. Hammer Without a Master will inaugurate the house with resonating sound, literally transforming a section of the building into an instrument, making way for a future cultural center.

Hammer Without a Master explores questions of archive by looking at the forthcoming shift of the Christiansen archive from the domestic space of a home studio to a formalized permanent facility that will also serve as a research tool for incoming residents to access. Christiansen lived and worked on the island of Møn in a traditional Danish farmhouse, his studio occupying a wing of the building. It is here, through the accumulation of a life’s work that this archive was contextualized. Hammer Without a Master hopes to point to this shift by addressing the architecture of the new site.

The exhibition looks at the tension between notions of archive that privilege conservation and permanence vs. Fluxus inclinations towards impermanence, poor materials and immediacy.

The exhibition is supported by:
Nordisk Kulturfond, Statens Kunstfond (Tværæstetiske pulje), OCA, Canada Council for the Arts

All installation shots: Thomas Bagge