2 OG introduces:
Anton Henssen examines DNA. He extracts DNA from human, animal, cancer, and plant cells and mixes the sample(s) with paint. By mixing the invisible DNA-liquid with oil and acrylic paint, he attempts to question identity, timelessness, and the basic human desire for self-preservation. The artist creates what he calls a ‘molecular portrait’, inspired by changes in DNA that occur with the onset of cancer. The changes in DNA and cell identity can morph human cells into destructive cancer cells. Henssen thus enters a relationship of tension and dialogue in his art: On the one hand the destructive potential of cancer cells triggers anxieties and urges the artist to live and create. But what the artist visualizes, on the other hand, is the image of cancer which kills the human body and itself. By entering this vicious cycle of creation and anxiety, Henssen interrogates his artistic desire to leave a signature on or through his art, the human desire for individual immortality and preservation of the self.
Anton Henssen is a cancer biologist, molecular geneticist and practicing doctor of children’s oncology at Charité Berlin. He was a visiting student at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, and worked with Pierre Huyghe on the Cancer Variator, which was exhibited at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris in 2016.