Henning Meyer

Henning Meyer (1946-2004) grew up in Gardemoens gate [street] in the Lademoen district. He had a younger sister and an older brother, and his father was the well-known town painter Arthur Meyer. His mother Astrid has her hands full managing the family on a steady course. Henning attended primary school at Lilleby School where he displayed special abilities and inventiveness in practical subjects. He was also the school's best at the shotput!
After primary school he worked out of town in the paper industry for a period of time. Afterwards, back in Trondheim he studied engineering at Trondheim tekniske skole [technical school]. After that he was back in Lilleby, working in the laboratory of the foundry there for several years. Later he was employed by NTH [The Norwegian Institute of Technology] for six years until 1981. While working as an engineer he started his own dance band duo – Meyers, which for a decade played across the entire region.
From early in the 1980s he put aside his engineering and dance band musician careers and started to draw Norwegian towns on assignment. He took video films, and then he would work in Tjøme in south Norway and complete the drawings. He made around 30 such town drawings. The one he worked the most on was Bergen, which he spent three years completing.
His dream was to draw Trondheim: He envisioned it as finished in a vast format, 75 m2. In 1990 he was ready to get started, but did not find as much enthusiasm amongst the public as he had himself. At this time he was living permanently with his family in Santa Pola in Spain, but he would visit Norway regularly on sales tours. Meyer was not much of a businessman, and his finances were a recurring problem. In the autumn of 1992 he received funding from a private patron and was able to start his Trondheim drawing project in earnest. In 1993 the family moved back to Trondheim. His life work proceeded at an even pace, but it was often under strain due to the lack of money. From 1994 to 1995 things were extremely difficult, so much so that he was on the brink of quitting. With the town anniversary and new millennium as the backdrop, his further progress was ensured by shared funding from private individuals and the public authorities. In the anniversary summer of 1997 Henning Meyer presented the finished drawing of Midtbyen [downtown Trondheim], a 7.5-metre-long major work.
Later he continued with unabated enthusiasm to put all of Trondheim on the paper. His work was developed interactively through a website, where he invited the public to participate by providing information and comments about the houses and people who lived there. This enormous project kept Meyer busy until he died in 2004.
Henning Meyer saw himself as a "contemporary archaeologist". His painstaking and ultra-detailed presentation of the town of Trondheim via drawings and photographic techniques is lasting, valuable and unique documentation.
In 1991 Henning Meyer published the book "Mitt liv i drømmebyen" [My life in the dream city], an illustrated and quite burlesque fable about life in Trondheim, as this artist with bubbling enthusiasm would have liked the town to appear.
Recommended reading: Henning Meyer: Mitt liv i drømmebyen [My life in the dream city]. Alicante, 1991.

Author: Einar Rædergård