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LOHNER Henning
Henning LOHNER - Detailed biography

 Born to German emigrant parents, Henning Lohner was raised near Palo Alto, California, where father Prof. Dr. Edgar Lohner taught Comparative Literature at Stanford University, and mother Dr. Marlene Lohner, ne Clewing, taught German Literature. Lohner has one brother, Peter, who is a lawyer turned writer/producer for film and television. Lohner returned to Germany to complete studies in musicology, art history, and Romanic languages at Frankfurt University, from which he graduated as MA in 1987. In 1982 Lohner took a year at the Berklee Jazz College in Boston, studying Jazz Improvisation with Gary Burton and Film Scoring with visiting lecturers Jerry Goldsmith and David Raksin. During the European Year of Music, 1985, Lohner was awarded a grant for music composition at the Centre Acanthes to study with Greek composer Iannis Xenakis, who subsequently became Lohner’s lifelong mentor. Parallel to his academic studies, Lohner became assistant to German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen in 1984; working at La Scala in Milano on Stockhausen’s opera Licht, Lohner was introduced to the visual media. On Stockhausen’s recommendation, Lohner went to Paris to become musical advisor and assistant director to Louis Malle on his film May Fools (1989–90, starring Michel Piccoli). Apprenticeships on Steve Reich’s multi-media oratorio The Cave (1990) and for Giorgio Strehler on his theater project Goethes Faust I + II (1990-1992) followed. Due to his commitment to the fields of contemporary music and theater as well as avant-garde filmmaking, Frank Zappa became aware of Lohner and invited him to work in California; Lohner collaborated with Zappa intermittently until his death in 1993. Lohner initialized and co-produced Zappa’s last concert performance, The Yellow Shark, along with the album of the same name, followed by the album Civilization, Phase III; both albums are based on collaborations with the Ensemble Modern, a contemporary music group from Frankfurt, Germany. Frank Zappa introduced Lohner to highly acclaimed cinematographer Van Theodore Carlson in 1989 to film Peefeeyatko, the biographical art film on Zappa’s life and work.

Peefeeyatko spawned Lohner and Carlson’s life-long artistic partnership. It contains the first published examples of their filmic artwork. Of formative influence to the art of both filmmakers was working with composer, artist, and philosopher John Cage during the early 90s. one and 103, Cage’s last work and artistic credo, in collaboration with Lohner as director and Carlson as cinematographer, is a 90-minute black and white feature film about light in an empty room; Cage also called it: „a film without subject“. It was completed just days before Cage died in August 1992. The Revenge of the Dead Indians, a film essay with composed screenplay and editing in analogy to Cage’s rigorously democratic philosophical and musical practice, was begun together with Cage in 1990 and was completed after his death in 1993. The Revenge of the Dead Indians became Lohner & Carlson’s homage to their mentor. Subsequently, Lohner & Carlson exhibited their audio-visual installation raw material, vol. 1 - 11 (1995) throughout Europe at venues such as the Gemeente Museet, in The Hague, The Sonic Arts Festival in Rome, and the Video Art Festival in Berlin. From the raw material gathered during 20 years of work in film and television, Lohner established a catalog of individual images - simply named Moving pictures - visible in any artistic or cultural context outside of narrative film or television. Lohner & Carlson’s Moving Pictures are implanted as loops on a digital canvas to hang on any wall-space like a painting. This artistic approach to the transformational nature of film raises the question of its aptitude for the essence of pictoral autonomy. They were first shown in 2006 at the renowned Springer & Winckler Gallery in Berlin. Lohner’s media art has been exhibited around the globe at such venues as: the Centre Pompidou, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon, the Galleria Traghetto in Venice and Rome, the National Art Gallery of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, the Mira Art Collection in Tokyo, the Kunsthalle in Emden, and many others.

Lohner’s film installation project raw material toured several important museums in Europe from 1995 until 1997, establishing Lohner as multi-media artist. Thanks to Hans Zimmer, Lohner began composing for films, joining his Remote Control Productions in 1996. From here on in Lohner works equally in the fields of audio and visual media.

Lohner lives and works in Los Angeles and Berlin. He is a Visiting Professor at the renowned Zurich Academy for Music and Theater, now ZHDK (Academy of Arts) in Switzerland.