42 x 29.7 cm
Serigraph on paper
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Annual members’ gift, Stiftung für konstruktive, konkrete und konzeptuelle Kunst, 2012
The works and long-term projects of the Conceptual artist Jochem Hendricks (born 1959 in Schlüchtern, Germany) can seem sober, playful, or even spectacular. They are also rendered in a wide range of methods and media – video, photography, objects, and texts. The mechanisms of society, power structures, and our fascination with poignant stories are important themes of his works, which include “100 Tränen” (1997) in which a glass flask is filled with a clear liquid, and “Cold Birds” (2002–2005), which consists of bird carcasses compressed into synthetic diamonds. By integrating different worldviews and ways of life, he sparks our imagination and fans the fire of our longings. He triggers memories and plays with our background knowledge and perception. In order to discover “how information gets into our heads and what it does with us,” Hendricks began developing a series of works called “Augenzeichnungen,” one of which is part of the collection of the Museum Haus Konstruktiv. These drawings, which he began making in the early 1990s, are created without the use of his hands. They are direct transcriptions of the visual process on paper. Hendricks uses a combination of infrared, video, and computer technology in the form of so-called eye-tracking glasses to record his eye movements, which are then digitalized. Each drawing printed on an ink-jet printer is unique and resembles a jumbled mesh of lines. These are meant to represent unconscious, uncontrollable eye movements – such as blinking, or staring into space.
Many of Hendricks’s long-term projects are elaborate processes motivated by his socio-political interests. For example, for his book “Crime – Terror – Riots,” he created an archive of police photographs of the RAF (a group of German militant left-wing terrorists) together with the photographer Magdalena Kopp (1948–2015), who was a founding member of the Revolutionäre Zellen (another militant left-wing terrorist group in Germany) and also the wife of the terrorist Carlos. According to Hendricks, Kopp’s prints and cropped images are what transforms the snapshots into art. Another of Hendricks’s long-term projects, which he started in 2009, is the work “Luxus Avatar,” which is solely financed through tax-deductible business expenses. The avatar, which is a life-size copy of the artist with a gold-plated head, likes to outwit the tax office, and Hendricks is forever buying his avatar luxury articles, which he deducts from his taxes.
Hendricks’s works fascinate us, challenge us, and bewilder us. The artist regards this as an important step toward encouraging empathy and, ideally, social engagement.
Dominique von Burg