Jochem Hendricks (born 1959) draws not with his hand, but with his eyes. Using apparatus constructed specifically for this purpose, consisting of a helmet, infra-red rays, video cameras and a computer, his eyes produce illustrations of what they are observing or reading at the time—be it a newspaper, a cup or a nude photo. The process is a metaphor: the eye records the external world in a practical, everyday way and creates an illustration of it in the brain. But in fact the eye is not a passive but a very active, productive organ. The conventional theory of the eye being passive is based on a notion of an analytical division between brain’s activity and eye. Since Kant, we have been aware that the external world as such is not accessible to us but is just subjective; in other words thinking and seeing are closely related, as are speaking and thinking, through the active mediation of our perception. By contrast, the hand that draws is only a performing body part and its activity—compared with seeing—is only a secondary one. Hendricks’s process frees itself from the traditional technique of drawing, depending as it does on the state of the soul, skill and chance. Freed from the often wilful, expressive movement of the hand, the artist wishes to achieve as much objectivity as possible. The creation of art is no longer a mystery. The originality lies in the concept and no longer in the execution. The grains of sand are another strange work. Together with 12 assistants, Heindricks counted 3,281,579 grains of sand. This took approximately 1,000 hours. The hand-picked grains are exhibited in an egg-shaped glass holder. On the outside the sand grains cannot be told apart. The grains of stand represent the arduous task work only in as much as you know that the pile of sand is a product of counting. And due to the fact that you know that it took about 1,000 hours to count them, the grains also represent the hours of labor. Now they are considered not so much as dirt, but as the result of great effort. There cannot be many more senseless tasks than counting grains of sand. After all, a small pile of sand is neither a useful nor an attractive product. Such a senseless task of counting becomes meaningful only by the fact that it presents itself—by way of the sand pile—as art. «Eye drawings» and «Grains of Sand» get round the criterion of inter-subjectivity in natural science, by which a scientific work is considered objective only if it can be reproduced under another set of identical conditions: anybody could produce eye drawings using Hendricks’ process and anybody could count the grains of sand again if he has any doubts that there really are 3,281, 579 grains. The versatile concept artist recently caused a stir with a tower made of objects he had stolen himself. Burkhard Brunn


1959 geb. in Schlüchtern / 1980–86 Studium
an der Städelschule, Frankfurt/Main / 1988 Jahresstipendium des Frankfurter Verein für Künstlerhilfe / 1990 Zeichenstipendium Nürnberg / 1993 Villa Romana-Preis / 1995 Reisestipendium der Hessischen Kulturstiftung / 2000 Sommer-Atelier Burgdorf (CH)

Exhibitions (selection)
2003 Sammlung Schürmann, K21 Kunstsammlung , Düsseldorf; »Figurine« (sans bras avec police), Galerie Thomas Rehbein, Köln / 2002 »Legal Crimes«, Kunstverein Freiburg / 2001 »010101«, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; »Flash«, Kunsthalle St. Gallen und Galerie Susanna Kulli, St.Gallen; »Frankfurter Kreuz. Transformationen des Alltäglichen«, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt; Szenenwechsel XX, Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt / 2000 »3.281.579 Sand-körner«, MAK, Frankfurt; »Dive In«, Kunstpanorama Luzern; »3 Active Eye Tracker«, Expo 2000, Hannover; Szenenwechsel XVIII, MMK Frankfurt

3.281.579 Sandkörner, 2000–01
Sand, Glas, 12,2 x 15,8 x 12,2 cm
Coutesy Thomas Rehbein, Köln