Critics’ Picks

Concetto 18.6 mm, 2007, copper and six bullet casings, 46 x 56 1/4 x 1".

Concetto 18.6 mm, 2007, copper and six bullet casings, 46 x 56 1/4 x 1".

London

Jochem Hendricks

Haunch of Venison | New Bond Street
103 New Bond Street
July 16, 2013–September 29, 2007

German artist Jochem Hendricks’s first solo exhibition in London betrays his deep suspicion of how society attributes material value and rewards materialistic behavior; it’s a distrust that triggers a body of aesthetically and technically diverse work. Hendricks maintains a consistent emphasis on process, undermining the authority of a finished artwork in favor of exposing the traces of its original form. On the ground floor, his ragged and spiky “Eye Drawings,” including watching Porn 1 (Eye Drawing), 1993, are the digital records of retinal movements made while looking at a particular object, activity, or film. Upstairs, installed inside a glass vitrine, Left Defender Right Leg, 2002–2005, chillingly distills a footballer’s crucial limb, amputated in a hospital in the former Eastern bloc. Hendricks claims to have secured agreement from the athlete to allow his lost appendage to be used in an artwork. After purchasing the leg on the black market, Hendricks reduced it to carbon, then pure graphite, ultimately creating a synthetic diamond—a vain symbol of the potential of a footballer’s essential gift. 5,279,063 Grains of Sand, 2001–2003, an almond-shaped vial allegedly filled with the stated number of particles, likewise captures an ethically uncomfortable congruence of trade and labor in its dependence on a menial task for the production of an exclusive aesthetic object. One of the most elegant works on display, Concetto 18.6 mm, 2007, contains the brutal traces of bullet casings in a sheet of richly luminous copper. Taking direct aim at the hallowed picture plane, Hendricks shatters any sense of its physical status. Like Lucio Fontana, he identifies the site of potential not in the surface, but in its destruction.