until 17.12. | #3696ARTatBerlin | Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery Berlin presents the exhibition “Dark Days Need Bright Spells” by artist Joachim Lambrechts from 19. November 2022.
From Jackie Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe to cobras and lions, a dancing devil and a mermaid, Joachim Lambrechts’ exhibition at Galerie Kristin Hjellegjerde Berlin draws on the artist’s personal experiences as well as a wide range of cultural and social references – celebrating the vibrancy and absurdity of everyday life in a gaudy, riotous way. Named after one of the works on paper in the exhibition, in which a magician conjures up a rainbow that provides both shelter and light in the midst of a stormy scene, Dark Days Need Bright Spells explores the idea of humour as a means of healing and opening up new ways of seeing the world.
“I believe that humour is very important to put certain things in perspective,” says Lambrechts. “As we all know, life can be brutal and hard, and in those moments laughter is very important. It makes things bearable.” This is closely related to the artist’s approach to art, which sees play as a means of releasing creativity. He never plans his works, preferring to see what emerges in a spontaneous process that sometimes requires working very quickly – the works on paper for this exhibition, for example, were each created in one day. While the characters and text often appear rudimentary, the heavily worked surfaces thereby reveal an intense process in which Lambrechts revises his initial marks and starts again.
Many of the works play with this idea of renewal through their compositions. One of these memorable works in the exhibition shows a lion walking away from a circus and towards the viewer. At first glance, it appears to be a simple, innocent image with bright colours and visual symmetry, but two lines of text at the top reveal a darker backstory. We learn that the lion left the circus – quit his job – because he was “not treated well and not paid well”. Reflecting on the work, Lambrechts notes that this resonates with his own story: “It reminds me of the many negative experiences I’ve had in places I’ve worked in the past, but sometimes the bad experiences are just as important as the good ones – they can motivate us to look beyond our current circumstances and seek happiness elsewhere.” In this sense, the circus becomes a metaphor for the absurdity of the modern world of work, which demands ever more productivity for very little in return.
Elsewhere, Lambrechts’ idiosyncratic combination of text and image transforms difficult issues like the ongoing war in Ukraine and global warming into something easier to understand and digest. These works do not seek to trivialise these issues, but merely to provide momentary relief; just as scenes of jazz pianist Hank Jones serenading a woman or Jimi Hendrix setting fire to his guitar are simply meant to bring joy in their playfulness and eccentricity. At the same time, there is a cheerful defiance running through the exhibition that sees laughter and play as a form of resistance, an animal instinct to free oneself from external constraints.
“The months I spent working on this show were one of the most creative and productive periods of my life. It felt like there was no end to the inspiration – it poured out of my body like a raging energy,” says Lambrechts. When you encounter these works, you feel exactly this vitality and hope – and the feeling of being free.
Vernissage: Saturday, 19 November 2022, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Exhibition dates: Saturday, 19 November – Saturday, 17 December 2022
Caption cover picture: Joachim Lambrechts: Dark days need bright spells, 2022 Oilsticks, oil paint, enamel paint, and spray paint on paper 100 x 70 cm 39
Exhibition Joachim Lambrechts – Kristin Hjellegjerde Berlin | Zeitgenössische Kunst in Berlin | Contemporary Art | Exhibitions Berlin Galerien | ART at Berlin