Flat Hearth Theory
Tosetti Value, together with CAMERA – the Italian Centre for Photography – and the Bianconi Gallery, is proud to present the research “Perspectives on the Globalised World”, with a selection of works featuring three important American industries by the Manchester-based artist, whose work draws a new geography of the world seen through the digital eye of Google Earth
For years, Mishka Henner has been engaging with the real world while looking at it from an unreal perspective.
He is a photographer, since his images are generated with the use of photographic instruments, but he does not create his works using a camera.
These two paradoxes would be enough to understand the ambiguous appeal of this research by an artist who is one of the leading lights on today’s international art scene.
Active since the mid-Nineties following a degree in sociology, Henner looks at the world from above with the aid of seeing machines. In this way, he is able to see infinitely big or infinitely small portions of the Earth, to have a real view and an imaginary view, to understand perfectly the things he sees, and at the same time, to alter them at will.
The first visual and conceptual consequence of a satellite view is that of eliminating linear perspective and radically changing our point of view.
In this world seen from above, the horizon – that line which defines the landscape and on which our eye settles in the search for a boundary and a certainty – no longer exists.
The world is flattened and perspectives are distorted, no longer those of the human eye, but those of a machine which enormously increases our capacity to see, while at the same time shaking up our ideas. What is certain, however, it that it allows us to perceive things that we would not be able to see – and so to want to know – without its help.
This is the crux of Henner’s research: the new artificial view induces us to see and to ask ourselves why enormous tracts of our planet have been altered by man’s intervention in the wake of political and economic decisions, in short, the recent history of mankind.
So here are aerial images of US military installations scattered throughout the world, enormous cattle feedlots and even bigger oil fields, and finally, the wind turbines of the latest cycle presented on this occasion. All real, all reconstructed. Real because they exist – and as such force us to reflect on the reasons and the consequences of the existence of such agglomerations, industries and instruments – and reconstructed because Henner always takes things a decisive step further. He does not limit himself to identifying the sites and presenting them to the public as they appear on a computer screen, but he transforms them, altering and artistically enhancing them, because he is well aware that the places where they will be displayed are concerned with visual culture, of necessity demanding a visual impact able to attract and interest primarily for reasons of form and colour – only later will the true nature Henner’s beautiful abstract works be revealed.
Each of us is involved in this vortex, deciphering landscapes with no horizon, land transformed into geometrical compositions, seeing the world through the eyes of an artist who uses the eyes of a machine, but the mind of a man.
April 2018 / October 2018