Henning Christiansen

Biography of Henning Christiansen

Henning Christiansen was a Danish composer and key figure in the Danish branch of the 1960s Fluxus movement, which sought to break conventions in the art world at the time by incorporating music and performance into artistic practices. The artist was born in Copenhagen in 1932. In his 20s Henning Christiansen took on a course on composition at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Copenhagen. There he would meet the Korean artist Nam June Paik, sparking his involvement with the Fluxus Movement.


Resenting the concepts of isolated artistic genius so prominent in the art world, Henning Chirstiansen was extremely keen on the notion fostered by the Fluxus which was to cultivate collaboration and integration as key aspects of artistic practice. Through his involvement with the movement, he was able to participate in events (essentially performance based art exhibitions) throughout Europe, and worked with artists such as Wolf Vostell, Nam June Paik, and Bazon Brock as well as his wife Ursula Reuter Christiansen. In 1964, Christiansen would meet Joseph Beuys. The pair shared the belief that performance was to an individual one of the most liberating means of expression. From the time they met, until the Beuys’ death in 1986, the two artists collaborated extremely regularly. Henning Christiansen often provided sonic back drops for Beuys’ performances, and created editioned covers for vinyl records or sheet music.


After many visits to Germany, Henning Christiansen received in 1985 a professorship in multimedia at the Academy of Fine Arts in Hamburg. Christiansen remained very active until his death in 2008, participating in the Wundergrund music festival and presenting a large retrospective in Copenhagen a year prior.

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