Bortolami is pleased to present Germanic Artifacts, Lena Henke's first solo exhibition with the gallery.
In the belly of the gallery there is an over-sized Germanic boar with stout legs. The animal has been meticulously sculpted by Henke and dyed purple. The UR Mutter (mother of origin), whose udders hang low, cocks an ample rear towards her snout to form an arc with her body. Among the first animals to be domesticated by Die Germanen, the boar is an unexpected but fierce, intelligent protector. Henke has cast a second boar in chainmail, using UR Mutter as the mother mold to get the shape. The resting Wildschwein lays in death, like a ghost or hollowed out link to the past.
Germanic Artifacts calls on the spirit of the ancient Teutoburg Forest, a historic woodland neighboring the artist's childhood home. Henke's installation reflects the early architectural structuresof the Germanic tribes that lived among the forest's marshes and thickets in 300 BC. These long, narrow structures were built to enclose fires, bringing heat indoors and forming a domestic womb. Henke embraces fire—which bakes clay, forges metal, and melts sand into glass—as a symbol of life and transformation.
For additional information, please see the attached press release.