Nelson Henricks | Andy Warhol: Screen Tests

Nelson Henricks, Don’t You Like the Green of A?, 2022. ©Nelson Henricks

Montreal Artist Nelson Henricks Exhibition at the MAC Along With Selection of Screen Tests by Andy Warhol

On view until April 10, 2023
Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC)

In this eponymous exhibition, Nelson Henricks offers up two new works, produced especially for the occasion, and presented for the first time at the MAC. The first installation, entitled Don’t You Like the Green of A? is a pictorial interpretation of Joan Mitchell’s synesthetic correspondence between letters and colors. The second work, Heads Will Roll, is a four-channel video installation that features a series of actions performed by performers, musicians, and dancers, exploring the revolutionary potential of popular and experimental music.

“Nelson Henricks’ works challenge us to question how an artwork shapes an idea, and how that shaping is perceived by the viewer who experiences it. How does a work express the content that is its source?” – Mark Lanctôt, Curator at the MAC and Curator of the exhibition

Don’t You Like the Green of A?
In this exhibition, Henricks unveils two new video installations. The first, Don’t You Like the Green of A?, is based on the correspondences between letters and colours specific to the synaesthesia (a neurological condition in which perception by one sense automatically triggers a perception in one of the other senses) of American painter Joan Mitchell (1925–1992). Here, Henricks—who also suffers from synaesthesia—addresses the condition not only as subject but also as methodology: he explores how an atypical perception mechanism can affect our understanding of language and, therefore, of the world around us.

Heads Will Roll
In the second work in the exhibition, Heads Will Roll, Henricks probes the potential of noise and music as expressions of public protest. The work draws inspiration from popular protests in Québec in the spring of 2012: every evening, thousands of people surged into the street banging pots and pans to express their discontent with the government of the time. In addition to providing the sights (and sounds) of scenes in which a percussionist performs on pots and pans, Henricks alludes to politics and ideology by orchestrating flags, books, and demonstrators in a tight, fast-paced montage that transitions from more harmonious sequences to highly chaotic or noisy scenes. The actions performed are edited to form an immersive experience in which the images are subordinated to the imperative of rhythm.

Nelson Henricks, Heads Will Roll, 2022. ©Nelson Henricks

For his exhibition, at the request of the Museum, Nelson Henricks has carefully composed a program of 15 short films (Screen Tests) produced by Andy Warhol between 1964 and 1966. This selection brings together the practices of both artists.

Andy Warhol (1928-1987) is best known as a pop artist, but he was more than just a painter. Between 1963 and 1968, Warhol and his associates made hundreds of films. Some are legendary because of their minimalist simplicity or erotic content. Others are famous because of their extreme length, with runs of up to five, eight, or even twenty-five hours. Warhol also made short films. His 362 Screen Tests (1964-1966) – average length 4 minutes – are in fact portraits of 189 people around him, many of whom were filmed multiple times. The basic formula for a test piece was simple: people had to sit in front of the camera and remain still until the film ran out. Some of the works in the series do not follow this rule because of the in-camera technique used, the movement of the camera or the rebelliousness of some of the subjects on the screen. In their adherence to minimalist or conceptualist strategies, Warhol’s films disrupted underground cinema and anticipated the first experiments in video art.

Screen Tests presents an erased version of the artist: Warhol takes a step back and the subject on the screen overwhelms us. Thus, Screen Tests leans towards intersubjective recognition. What does it mean to look and to be looked at? What can we learn by looking at someone’s face? What do we become when we compose ourselves for the gaze of another?”, asks Nelson Henricks.

This presentation is made possible by a loan from the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, a Carnegie Institute museum.

Nelson Henricks, Don’t You Like the Green of A?, 2022. ©Nelson Henricks

Activities Open to Everyone:

Exhibition tour with Nelson Henricks and Mark Lanctôt: During the exhibition Nelson Henricks, the MAC invites you to attend an encounter with the artist and the curator, Mark Lanctôt, in the exhibition space at Place Ville Marie. The conversation, which will cover the works presented and Henricks’ practice more broadly, will be followed by an exchange with the audience. Please reserve your ticket for: Wednesday, January 18, at 5:30 pm (English). Included in the price of admission.

ANDY WARHOL as seen by NELSON HENRICKS, a MAC “pop-up” activity presented at the Cinémathèque Québécoise: A selection of six films by Andy Warhol, selected by Nelson Henricks. Each session is preceded by a short presentation by ARA OSTERWEIL and NELSON HENRICKS and will be followed by a Q & A with the public.

PROGRAM 1, Thursday, January 26 at 6:30 pm
Outer & Inner Space, 33 min
Velvet Underground in Boston, 33 min

PROGRAM 2, Friday January 27 at 8:30 pm
Haircut, 24 min
Kiss, 54 min

PROGRAM 3, Saturday, January 28 at 6:30 PM
Mario Banana #2, 4 min
The Velvet Underground & Nico, 67 min

This presentation is made possible by a loan from the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY.

Nelson Henricks, Heads Will Roll, 2022. ©Nelson Henricks

About Nelson Henricks
Born in Bow Island, Alberta, 1963, Nelson Henricks has lived and worked in Montréal since 1991. Known mainly for his video works, he has developed a multidisciplinary approach (painting, sculpture, writing) to better explore how audiovisual data from different sources overlap with and influence each other. He has taught art history and video production at Concordia University. His work has been presented constantly in Canada and abroad since the early 1990s. His works are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts of Montreal, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the National Gallery of Canada, and many corporate and private collections.

Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC)
1 Place Ville Marie, Gallery level
Montréal, Québec H3B 3Y1
T. +1 514 847-6226

Facebook / Instagram / Twitter