Bill Henson

Bill Henson

Melbourne VIC Australia
Artist’s Statement

"Bill Henson is a visionary explorer of twilight zones, between nature and civilization, youth and adulthood, male and female. His photographs are painterly tableaux that continue the traditions of romantic literature and painting.

Hensons elegant, formal photographs – of battered landscapes and fragile, wispy youths – resemble nothing so much as Flemish still-lifes; rarely has colour photography captured so profoundly the furry texture of night time."

The New Yorker 2004


Bill Henson is one of Australia’s leading contemporary artists. Born in Melbourne in 1955, Henson had his first solo exhibition, at the age of 19, at the National Gallery of Victoria in 1975. He has since exhibited extensively in Australia and overseas, including New York, London, Paris, Beijing, Tokyo, Montreal, Barcelona, Vienna and Amsterdam. In 1995 Henson represented Australia at the Venice Biennale, with his celebrated series of cut-screen photographs. He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of NSW.
In 2003 Henson’s work appeared in Strangers: The First ICP Triennial of Photography and Video at the International Center of Photography in New York. In the same year he had a solo exhibition at the Centro de Fotografia, University of Salamanca, Spain. In 2005 a comprehensive survey of his work was held at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney and the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne. This landmark survey show attracted record visitor numbers for a contemporary art exhibition in Australia. In 2006 Henson exhibited a major body of work in Twilight: Photography in the Magic Hour at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Bill Henson’s work is to be found in every major public collection in Australia including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Art Gallery of South Australia, the Art Gallery of Western Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria and the National Gallery of Australia. Overseas collections include the Bibliotheque Nationale de Paris, the Houston Museum of Fine Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, the Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna, the Sammlung Volpinum, Vienna, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
A number of major monographs on the artist’s work have appeared over the years, the most recent being Lux et Nox (2002) and Mnemosyne (2005); both published by Scalo (Switzerland). A second edition of Lux et Nox was published by Thames & Hudson in 2009