Works for Live Art Danmark
Henrik is one of the founders and directors of Live Art Denmark. He takes part in developing and producing all projects of our company. Using the label “Zarathustras Onkel”, he produced his own performances. The following were included in Live Art Danmark’s programs:
2004 “Gerüstbauficken” at Berliner Luft 1
2005 “We Come in Peace” at Berliner Luft 2
2007 Remake of “Fingernumret”, part of the Kanon project, at Berliner Luft 3
2012 “Full Stop”, part of the Kanon project, at Samtalekøkken
Since 2016 More than 100 shows of 50 Farlige Ting (alle børn bør prøve)
2018 “Virak Revy“, a performance about scores
2020 “Kaboom“, a performance for kids about destruction in art
Zarathustras Onkel was used by Henrik Vestergaard Friis as an alter ego and a label for his solo and group performances. Between 2002 and 2012 he used the name to produce and perform around 30 different pieces around the world.
Henrik invented his own sexual deviation, a passion for intercourse with scaffolding. He found plenty of material to satisfy his passion in post-unification Berlin on the construction sites of the new German capital around the turn of the millenium. A video illustrating the practice was shot under precarious conditions on a scaffold, with the new cupula of the Reichstag under construction clearly cvisible in the background. A live version of “Gerüstbauficken” was performed at our first Berliner Luft festival.
We Come in Peace
“We Come in Peace” was a performance with live sound and video, based on Orson Welles’ “The War of the Worlds”. It featured robot vacuum cleaners cast as UFOs, electronic noise, found text, talking hamsters, live 3D effects and the complete destruction of a small scale model of the center of every city the piece was performed in, which had to be meticulously hand crafted for every show. The performance toured extensively and was part of the program of Berliner Luft 2. To promote the Copenhagen shows, Henrik and co-performer Jörn Burmester Wium went on TV!
In early 2006, the Danish Ministry of Culture published the official Danish Cultural Canon, containing all of the most important cultural achievements and artworks created throughout Denmark’s existence. 96 pieces and works from art forms ranging from architecture, design to stage art were selected to prove the greatness of Danish culture, or maybe rather: how great the Danes are.
Provoked by this presumptiousness, Zarathustras Onkel started his most ambitious project in the fall of 2006, a performative examination of all works that were included in the section on performing arts of the Danish Cultural Canon. He did not re-perform or copy the pieces, but set out to grasp their essence by developing contemporary performative versions. The project took ten years to finish. By 2016 Zonkel had completed his versions of all the greatest works of Danish performing arts, from Bournonville ballets to Sort Sol concerts, some as small interventions, others as large scale productions.
Zonkel’s version of Dirch Passers cabaret-classic Fingernummeret from 1974 was performed at Berliner Luft 3.
For a special edition of Samtalekøkken in the Theatre Museum of Copenhagen, Henrik performed “Full Stop” to mark of the finnissage of his exhibition on the canon project there in 2012. Later that year, the exhibition was presented at Grimm Museum, Berlin.
Zonkels Kanon is documented in a video by Thomas Martius and Benjamin Bayer, and in an e-book with many photos and background information.
50 Farlige Ting (alle børn bør prøve)
Henrik performs in Live Art Denmark’s most popular show to date, tempting children to engage in potentially harmful behaviour together with Daniel Norback. “50 dangerous things all children should try” has seen more than 150 performances around Denmark and is still shown regularly.
Henrik co-developed and performs in this participatory piece about performance scores. Throughout art history, but especially during the days of the Fluxus art-movement, artists have experimented with notations of their live-pieces. We have compiled a large collection of such scores, or scripts, and invite the audience to try them out.
Henrik co-developed and performs in our new touring performance for kids and grown ups. The audience is invited to destroy things on stage, learn about destruction in art history, and feel the beauty of destruction while listening to the new sound pieces we create live on stage, sampling and remixing the sounds of breaking stuff.
About the Artist
Henrik Vestergaard was born in Randers/Denmark. He received a university degree after studying Theater Studies in Copenhagen and Berlin, where he lived from 1999 to 2009. Ever since, he works as a dramaturg, performer and scholar of performing arts. In 2004 he founded Live Art Danmark with Ellen Friis. They are both artistic directors of the association, and have developed and carried out numerous projects for a great variety of different audiences together. They are also married and have two children, Dagmar and Konrad, who sometimes participate in their projects. Besides work and family, Henrik enjoys drinking beer and training Kung Fu.