Hans van der Ham

Hans van der Ham over Armourshow

Hans van der Ham about ARMOURSHOW Kunstbeeld, juni 2007


The sculptures are arranged in a group in my studio. I took this photo for the invitations to a recent exhibition in Germany. Although my sculptures and drawings never have titles, I called the exhibition ARMOUR SHOW, which suggests something in the nature of combat: “armour” may be interpreted as a suit of armour or as weaponry. On viewing the figures, however, it becomes clear that none of them would be capable of anything like combat. Their dress would afford little or no protection, in some cases even seeming to consist of haphazardly assembled patchwork. Their militancy is more suggestive of Don Quixote, touching rather than alarming. Moreover, the majority are visibly empty in that where a face would normally be there is a black void. They are just husks, exteriors. Archetypical figures play an important part in the creation of my work, such as the stock characters of the Commedia dell’arte, a form of street theatre dating from mid-16th century Italy. One such character is the buffoon Pulcinella who, in clownesque attire, fooled people in the public by playing all sorts of tricks, holding up a mirror to them and confronting them with their shortcomings. No-one knew what to make of him; his true nature was hidden behind his assumed identity. Another favourite is Pinocchio, a wooden puppet brought unasked to life. After many escapades involving typically human shortcomings he is finally permitted to become a real boy. As I see it, Pinocchio is a metaphor for the tragedy of existence. Various ethnic peoples have a visual culture based on the actual vivification of inanimate material. Here there is no question of fairy-tale metaphors like Pinocchio but of hard reality. The figures created ARE the person or deity they portray and not, as in our culture, a symbolic representation. I find this fascinating. And then there’s the story of the golem, in Jewish legend (and later in a different guise in a novel by Gustav Meyrink) a clay figure identical in all respects to human beings except for one element – the lack of a soul, with all the dramatic consequences that entailed. In this age of biotechnical developments my sculptures are meant as reminders of old tales that in time, almost as a kind of alchemy, could become reality.


Beeldentuin 2017, Ravesteyn Heenvliet

Catalog text Beeldentuin Ravesteyn, May - June 2017 Monique Tolk Read on

Individu en masse

Catalog text Individu en masse, February 2017 Monique Tolk Read on

Hans van der Ham bedekt en verhult

BAZ Magazine, najaar 2015 Marjan Overdijk Read on

To be honest

Interview with Hans van der Ham by Monique Tolk because of the exhibition TO BE HONEST, galerie Nouvelles Images, The Hague October 15th 2014 Read on

From volatility to stillness

Catalog text Personae, August 2013 Monique Tolk Read on


Catalog text Personae, August 2013 Erik Bos Read on

De droomsfeer..

CBK Utrecht Wouter Welling Read on

Through the Mirror

Beelden magazine, March 2010 Tine van de Weyer Read on


Kunstbeeld magazine, November 2005 Anne Berk Read on

Hans van der Ham

Kunstbeeld magazine, March 2003 Wouter Welling Read on

Hans van der Ham over Armourshow

Kunstbeeld magazine, June 2007 Hans van der Ham Read on

Net uit het lood

de Volkskrant, March 2009 Truus Ruiter Read on

Betoverende beelden

Kunstbeeld, October 2001 Robbert Roos Read on