Asteroid23 November 2011 – 6 January 2012
Asteroids, meteors, death planets, virtual cosmic plants in space and two dimensions, sans narrative, displaying the unknown world by their sheer existence. New York is not destroyed like in Armageddon, the impact happens on the screen only, in a planet far away from Earth. Henrik Martin's exhibition Asteroid makes us observers, meditating, with our faces turned towards the infinite Universe, or rather, realists like the artist himself, who is intrigued by the Cosmos and Man's place in it. It is a curious coincidence that recently a 400-metre-diameter asteroid passed us quietly, confuting its fame of being the harbinger of catastrophe, at least in American films. It was one of the asteroids whose path sometimes intersects our planet's orbit, and this time it got as close as the two-third of the distance of the Moon. Also recently, in June 2011, a Trojan asteroid was observed for the first time through an infra-red telescope. It is the permanent companion of Earth, it constantly follows us, and would serve as a perfect location for a space station. Like a writer of fan fiction, I could imagine that Henrik Martin's Space Buddha (his life-sized, concrete self-portrait in a sitting Buddha-position) will be placed on this object with a message from Earth and fissile material in its inside, and from here it will begin its activity as an asteroid, and perhaps even an observatory will be built here. But maybe by the time the statue-to-be-launched will be finished, Henrik Martin will keep up with the times and create instead a mining robot that will supplement our raw materials from the asteroid that contains excellent rocks.
Asteroids are not to be confused with meteors that can be small fragments of planets or the "motes" of comets. Once in the atmosphere, they get hot and shine – they became shooting stars that we can see so often on August nights.
Back on the planet Earth, in Henrik Martin's second solo exhibition we can see his selected works of years, inspired by asteroids, in addition to a few extraterrestrial "faces" whose origin, that is, whether they got from Earth to Space or from Space to Earth, is unknown. His paintings, statues and installations invite us to an imaginary space travel, although displaying carved, painted and installed objects made from the materials of Earth, still, some of them bear a striking resemblance with the Trojan asteroids, for example. We cannot be certain of anything, for example, the origins of the Exoplant-meteor-catchers. Are they indeed imaginary lifeforms or do "they live outside our solar system, somewhere between the known organic flora and the inorganic crystalline lifeforms? After all, it is impossible that there is no life outside Earth," as Henrik defined them. We do not even know what kind of emptiness the Space Buddhas travel to. "The meditating person tries to reach the state of emptiness in the inside. The space-traveller heads for the outer world, and may experience the same in Space. As Space Buddhas, we may go outside or inside at the same time."
Brigitta Muladi art historianBACK