fbpx Biennale Arte 2022 | Florence Henri
La Biennale di Venezia

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Florence Henri

1893, USA – 1982, France


  • TUE - SUN
    23/04 > 25/09
    11 AM - 7 PM

    FRI - SAT UNTIL 25/09
    11 AM - 8 PM

    TUE - SUN
    27/09 > 27/11
    10 AM - 6 PM
  • Arsenale
  • Admission with ticket

Born in America and raised in Rome, Florence Henri moved to Berlin when she was just twenty. Fascinated by the feminist model of the Neue Frau (New Woman), she depicts the complex, hybrid femininity that was widespread after the war. Like many female artists of her generation, she played with her features to create a fluid identity: in her photographs, the body becomes a collection of signs that, like the abstract compositions of her early paintings, can be dismantled, reassembled, revealed, and concealed. Yet these black-and-white photos seem less linked to the historical avant-gardes than to the Neue Sehen (New Vision) movement. Founded in about 1927 by László Moholy-Nagy, around the time the artist attended the Bauhaus summer school, it favoured a photographic gaze with strong composition and a Surrealist slant. In one of her self-portraits, Autoportrait (1928), probably the most famous, Henri’s image is reflected in a vertical mirror with two metal spheres at its base: arms folded and resting on a wooden table, and face framed by a masculine haircut, the artist looks at herself with a gaze that seems almost resigned, coming to terms with her own appearance. Although Henri rejected any conceptualisation of her photographs, this iconic portrait seems to capture the complex, hybrid femininity that was widespread after the war, and which she encountered on her many sojourns in Europe. 

Stefano Mudu


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Biennale Arte
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