Lena Henke (born 1982 in Warburg, lives in New York and Berlin) is the fifth recipient of the Marta Prize of the Wemhöner Foundation. The internationally successful artist tests the conditions and possibilities of sculpture using technically innovative production processes. At the same time, she expands the meanings of traditional sculpture invoking questions about femininity and the production of power relations in urban space.
For her solo exhibition at the Marta, the artist presents a large spatial installation conceived specifically for the museum. It reflects on memories of the roles and power structures as they are reproduced in the private sphere of the (post-)modern nuclear family. Its inherent domesticity acts as both a net and a cage, and so the promise of automotive escapes – undoubtedly a masculine fetish – penetrates this small world, materialising in petrol, asphalt, and rubber. The smells and consistencies of these materials are the promises of freedom with which Henke breaks the borders of domesticity.
Braun, Miele, Poggenpohl; Aral, Porsche – super leaded – excitement and reassurance are the simultaneous poles of the brand promises whose omnipresence in the artist’s childhood needs no reminding. The Westphalia of the 1980s: plumes of cabbage, potato and hot fat drift out of the kitchens, while into the kitchens seeps the promise of the road, steaming asphalt, the smell of benzene and hot tyres. Past moments do not have to be true or really yours. Nostalgia is just as real when it is imaginary. The cemetery, our ashes, stones, fields, our names: all these lie between the houses and the streets of Westphalia.