Jochem Hendricks finds tax dodge and cynical sweetspot at New Art Gallery Walsall

By Mark Sheerin | 08 January 2013
Colour photo of a gilded bust of an artist
Hendricks' self portrait of a luxury good-loving alter ego© Jochem Hendricks

Exhibition Preview: Jochem Hendricks, New Art Gallery, Walsall, January 18 – April 7 2013

In this age of billionaires, Hendricks’ tax dodging antics deserve to be more widely known. The German artist has brought countless items of luxury clothing and accessories, plus a convertible Mazda and written the lot off as art materials.

Well, in a sense they are his materials. The clobber has been assigned to a statue modelled on his form by a computer; this piece is called Avatar. The car, meanwhile, needs to function for six months of the year before the cheeky artist gets to drive it for the rest of the annual term.

Other pieces in this show may also call ethics into question. Glass bulbs are filled with grains of sand and a reel of human hair stretches to 25 miles.

Migrant workers were paid to count the sand. The hair was knotted together in the developing world. In many ways, Hendricks operates like one of the corporations he surely satirises.

The jewel in the crown of this forthcoming show, which has already toured Zurich and Southampton, could well be the synthesised diamond on the black velvet cushion next to a toenail.

Gallery notes will inform visitors this is the amputated leg of a former football player, turned first into carbon and then into a gemstone. How much credence you give this is up to you.

So cynicism abounds in this nevertheless amusing show. But in these cynical times, this may be just the sort of work we need.

  • Open 10am-5pm (12pm-4pm Sunday, closed Monday). Admission free. Follow the gallery on Twitter @newartgallery.

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