Jan Henderikse - MINT | Cortesi

One man’s trash is another’s treasure. That’s a message taken on board by so many artists over the past century, with everyone from Duchamp to Jannis Kounellis to Michael Landy using everyday detritus in new ways. Jan Henderikse, currently showing at Cortesi, takes things to new, daffy heights.

Most of the works are framed, wall mounted, and neatly unified by theme. There are collections of coins, number plates, toilet soap, corks and plastic caps. It’s colourful, fun and peppy - or Pop-py, given Henderikse’s liking for the mass-produced - and the list of works (and materials used) are a treat to read.

Installation view

I found Love Boat, from 1984, part of a series Henderikse calls “rejected photos”, to be the most touching. Groups of people stand cheerfully, and sometimes awkwardly, around a sign commemorating the cruise they’re presumably on. There’s something deeply poignant about their poses and expressions - lent an extra layer of poignancy by the fact these photos weren’t ultimately purchased by their subjects, that many of them might now be dead, 34 years on. And, for those alive, the cruise could well be long-forgotten.

Henderikse, who I hadn’t heard of, is still going as an octogenarian. Documenting “civilisation’s trash flow”, as the show notes have it, as an essential part of our collective memory. I felt privileged to look at his love boat.

Other highlights

I adored Hannah Wilke’s tiny yonic sculptures - plus the only two paintings she ever did, apparently - at Alison Jacques. I saw a new side of Lucio Fontana, [his Teatrini at Nahmad Projects: they’re canvases pierced with neat rows of lines, and surrounded by organic looking wooden frames like a proscenium arch.

After checking out a tiny #elenao show at Lamb Arts (not really the right word, following the election of Jair Bolsonaro), I took in more Latin misery at White Cube, with Doris Salcedo’s stunning sand-and-water installation remembering migrant people drowned in the Mediterranean.

For more light-hearted excess, there was Anselm Kiefer’s six metre high vitrine Für Vicente Huidobro (like Salcedo, at White Cube), and Eliseo Mattiacci’s Roma, 58 moulded aluminium volutes draped around the Richard Saltoun gallery. Apparently, these were inspired by the baroque architecture of the Italian capital.

Jan Henderikse: MINT is at Cortesi (London). 03 October - 10 November 2018