From an Interview with Lars Henkel
When I delve into the search for historical traces in his visual language, I find a lot in the 19th century: mechanics, puppets and automatons, Edgar Allan Poe, Jules Verne, all the way to Franz Kafka…
“A part of the visual trail leads into the 19th century, but also to the first half of the 20th century. Socially, politically, culturally and aesthetically, it was an exciting era. Photos, images, objects all carry a previous history in themselves. Their traces allude to the life of another time. They are enriched with emotions and content that automatically flow into the art. For example, the photos of August Sander are still fascinating. Although they hail from an epoch that lies 100 years in the past, they have a weird effect. Precisely the portraits of older people show faces that no longer look like this today.”
Mechanics seem to be another inspiration for Lars, maybe because they fundamentally differ from today’s electronics.
“Their construction was transparent and their operation could be understood. The appearance of machinery makes a symbolic statement from today’s point of view. The mechanical principles and machines are very good for use in a metaphorical sense to visualize abstract processes.”
This might be one reason why early films and photography fascinate him too.
“Silent film, daguerreotypes and pinhole cameras from that time are very expressive, direct and – in a certain sense – timeless. They have an original force that captivates me. It is similar with etchings from the 18th century. (e.g. “Encyclopédie Diderot“) or woodcuts from the 16th century (Dürer, for example).The aesthetic of these expressive forms also flows into my visual language. Though the focus is more on the force of the expression than the nostalgia connected with it.”