German artist Jochem Hendricks (b. 1959) is known for his works that address complex moral and ethical issues. The objects he produces are often beautifully realised, yet beneath the surface lie elaborate backstories, which – at times – test the boundaries of legality.
This new exhibition spans Hendricks’ practice over the past decade and ranges from sculpture, film and photography to installations and painting. Works on show at the John Hansard Gallery include a number of ‘intercontinental paintings’, realised through an international networkof collaborators; synthesised diamonds, transformed from the concentrated essence of birds; a Mazda MX5 sports car which has become a “part-time sculpture” through the artist’s tax arrangements; a 25 mile-long human hair, glued from individual strands;photographs from a 1970s archive of police investigations, printed by the former wife of terrorist Carlos the Jackal; and glass-blown vials containing hand-counted grains of sand.
At John Hansard Gallery Central visitors can view the visceral film installation Front Windows, 2008-9, in which 200 windows of an old building in the centre of Frankfurt are smashed from within, at changing rhythms and speeds (presented as part of Southampton Film Week 2012).
Hendricks’ work explores the value and meaning of labour, truth and story-telling, ethics and the role of the artist. By turns playful, serious, provocative and sensitive, the artist asks: how can art allow us to understand – and question – our place in the world?
Jochem Hendricks is organised in collaboration with Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich and The New Art Gallery, Walsall, and is accompnied by a fully-illustrated catalogue, published by Distanz Verlag.