Hans Hemmert | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Hans Hemmert


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


In traditional media, from trompe l'oeil painting to abstract metal sculpture, the sense of an artist straining against or pushing beyond the limits of his medium is a major part of the achievement. In digital imaging virtually anything is possible, but with no physical material to struggle with, the result is often a hodgepodge of glitzy effects. Not so with Hans Hemmert's four video projections on exhibit at Vedanta (along with many drawings), which at first appear to consist of digital images projected on sketches. Brutality/Artificiality/Innocence shows a room interior with a pencil drawing of two men that's actually part of the video. On one wall of this room is a huge yellow panel with a yellow blob drooping from it--a painting/sculpture that references Hemmert's earlier yellow sculptures and signals that we're in an art gallery. Then two live men enter in color video--and quickly start fighting. Golgotha also involves a sketch, of a Crucifixion scene, and its color figures include a dancing girl. (Schmeiss-u. schubs-ausstellung)1 is another interior with people milling about as if at a gallery opening while objects fall from above, among them a giant gob of paint that lands on a wall. The traditional artistry and comparative certitude of drawing is rendered archaic by the humor of these absurdist video happenings (several use imagery from Fassbinder films), while the tension between moving video and static drawings suggests a fascination with and respect for the possibilities of both. Vedanta, 835 W. Washington, through December 31. Hours are 10 to 6 Tuesday through Friday and 11 to 5 Saturday; 312-432-0708.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment