Henrik Olesen

(Denmark) b.1967

Lives and works in Berlin

Throughout Henrik Olesen’s career, he has worked with a nuanced perception of identity politics as viewed from a gay man’s perspective. In his works, Olesen questions a range of power relations and how our common history is written. He has a particular interest in examining how homosexuality is represented. His art is a challenge to any hegemonic biological categorization, as well as to the master narrative embedded in the heterosexual writing of history. 

In the work A.T. Olesen addresses concepts such as the portrait and biography. The 20 photo collages consist of deconstructed factual material, such as photos, letters and drawings, from the life of the English mathematician Alan Turing (1912-1954), the founder of the binary code and a servant of society. Parallel to the process of the invention of the modern computer, Turing was subjected to female hormone therapy as treatment for his homosexuality. The dis-assembled and re-assembled biography of Turing serves as a framework for associative concepts of a reified, postmodern body, male/female or otherwise.

Olesen has been featured in worldwide exhibitions , such as Hysterical Men, Fasanenstraße 30, Berlin (2013); Master-Slave Dialectic, Neven-DuMont-Straße 17, Köln (with Danh Vo, 2011); Projects 94: Henrik Olesen, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2011); Danh Vo/Henrik Olesen, Fondazione Morra Greco, Napels; Gwangju Biennale (2010); 6th Berlin Biennale (2010); Kirsten Pieroth / Henrik Olesen, Dépendance Gallery, Brussels; Modernologies - Contemporary Artists Researching Modernity and Modernism, Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw and MACBA Barcelona, (2010); Studio Voltaire Presents: Mr. Knife & Mrs. Fork, Studio Voltaire, London (2009); and Henrik Olesen: How Do I Make Myself a Body, Gallery Daniel Buchholz, Berlin (2008).

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