Hans Lemmen, Walkabout; Galerie Helder, The Hague

The present exhibition of works by Hans Lemmen (1959) at Helder has some unexpected and absurdist turns right from the beginning when entering the gallery up to the patio (no picture of that one included here, so you have to go and see for yourself) at the end of the show.

Lemmen’s work seems to be dug up, either from the soil or from the mind.

That is why you may find hand axes shining like diamonds, but the spade too with which they were dug up looks unworldly as well as earthly.

There is a marvelous big drawing of a gently sloping landscape,  well plowed in an orderly manner, but full of hidden history and of high voltage pylons to keep everything ‘under the net’.

But clearly, in Lemmen’s works things just don’t want to stay ‘under the net’.

They are full of pleasant – or maybe unpleasant – awkwardness.

Some works look like moments in which things happen beyond control, as if a higher power is playing with sensitivities, history and the present, moments of love, beauty, death and destruction, just for the fun of it.

Just as the gods did when the world was still polytheistic.

There is also a cabinet with drawers full of drawings and objects – with amongst others the catalogue of the project Lemmen did together with American photographer, working in South Africa, Roger Ballen (1950) .

You will probably want to see them all, but you may also get the feeling that they don’t want to see you.

Helder is usually very good at making exhibitions, but it seems this show has more or less made itself.

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2018

Content of all photographs courtesy to Hans Lemmen and Galerie Helder, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters